2007 Indigenous Consumers Count

This publication is for: 

‘Indigenous Consumers Count’ are reports examining consumer issues faced by Indigenous Western Australians and whether consumer protection services adequately meet the needs of this diverse population. The report is based on research into the perceptions of advocates and service providers from organisations concerned with the needs of Indigenous Western Australian consumers. The research helps Consumer Protection develop and implement campaigns addressing the reported issues.

Executive summary of the Indigenous Consumes Count 2007

Indigenous Consumers Count’ is the first report of its kind to examine consumer issues faced by Indigenous Western Australians and whether the current provision of consumer protection services adequately meets the needs of this diverse population. The report is based on research into the perceptions of advocates and service providers from organisations concerned with the needs of Indigenous Western Australian consumers. The research was conducted by the Consumer Protection Division of the Department of Consumer and Employment Protection (DOCEP) in 2004-05.

The objectives of the research project were to:

  • identify the main consumer issues facing Indigenous Western Australians
  • gain an indication of the current provision of consumer protection services to Indigenous consumers
  • gain feedback on proposed DOCEP initiatives in regard to Indigenous consumer protection.

Advocates and service providers from regional centres and the metropolitan area took part in in-depth interviews with DOCEP Indigenous officers. The regional interviews were preceded by community meetings.

2007 indigenous consumers count cover
2007 indigenous consumers count cover, by Consumer Protection

2007 Indigenous Consumers Count Report - Top issues facing Indigenous consumers: 

  • 1 private rental;
  • 2 discrimination;
  • 3 public rental;
  • 4 credit and finance;
  • 5 debt;
  • 6 centrelink payments;
  • 7 lack of knowledge;
  • 8 debt collection;
  • 9 car purchases and repairs;
  • 10 financial literacy;
  • 11 funerals; and
  • 12 utilities (i.e. electricity, water and gas).
  • Book-up (informal credit)

The research also found that awareness of the services that DOCEP provides through its call centre was almost double in the metropolitan area. In line with this finding, metropolitan service providers were much more likely to advise clients to use the call centre than regional respondents. Opinion was divided on the extent to which call centres were considered culturally appropriate.

Awareness of DOCEP regional offices was low and regional respondents felt this needed improvement. The employment of Indigenous staff was seen as an effective strategy to increase the profile of these offices.

Knowledge of the existence of DOCEP publications was also very low, with less than one-quarter of the respondents being aware of them.

More metropolitan than regional respondents were likely to use the DOCEP website. The creation of an Indigenous consumer website was supported, although there was some indication that the site would be more likely to be used by consumer advocates than Indigenous consumers themselves.

To improve DOCEP services to Indigenous consumers, strong support was given to the proposal of DOCEP officers attending Indigenous cultural activities and events. The use of media was also seen as a positive strategy, with radio, (particularly Indigenous radio), deemed the best media resource in both regional and metropolitan areas.

The strategy for increasing consumer awareness among Indigenous Western Australians most favoured by respondents was the creation of an Indigenous consumer advocate network.

Table of contents

    1. Introduction
    2. Background to research
    3. Purpose of research
    4. Methodology
    5. Advocates and service providers consulted
    6. Data analysis
    7. Limitations
    1. Introduction
    2. Profile of the respondents
      1. Interviewees’ length of employment
    3. The respondents’ organisations
    1. Introduction
    2. Most problematic consumer issues
    3. The 12 most problematic consumer issues
      1. Private rental
      2. Discrimination
      3. Public rental
      4. Credit and finance
      5. Debt
      6. Centrelink payments
      7. Lack of knowledge
      8. Debt collection
      9. Car purchases and repair
      10. Financial Literacy
      11. Funerals
      12. Utilities
      13. Book-up – a special mention
    1. Introduction
    2. The Consumer Protection advice line
      1. Use of the call centre
      2. Is the call centre culturally appropriate for Indigenous people?
    3. Regional DOCEP offices
      1. Comments about DOCEP regional offices
    4. DOCEP website
    5. Publications
    6.  ‘Good book-up bad book-up’ and ‘When the repo man comes’
    1. Introduction
    2. Promoting DOCEP
    3. Using media for promotional purposes
    4. Indigenous consumer website
    5. Proposed publications
    6. Building a network of community advocates
    7. Further comments
    8. Summary
    1. Appendix One: Acronyms
    2. Appendix Two: Interview format
    3. Appendix Three: Participating organisations
Consumer Protection
Last updated 13 Mar 2023

Last modified: