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Tourists to Australia have consumer rights too

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JOINT MEDIA RELEASE The Hon. Warren Truss, MP The Hon. Andrew Thomson, MP Minister for Customs and Consumer Affairs Minister for Sport and Tourism

Friday, 28 August 1998 301/98


The Federal Government is taking action to ensure visitors to Australia are aware of their consumer rights when touring and shopping in Australia, the Minister for Customs and Consumer Affairs, Warren Truss, and the Minister for Sport and Tourism, Andrew Thomson announced today.

“Most trades offer a friendly welcome and deal fairly with visitors but we are taking these actions in response to claims that some incoming tourists are not getting a fair deal from some tour guides and retail outlets," Mr Truss said.

“It appears that some tour guides are receiving substantial commissions from retailers for taking groups to their shops, sometimes telling the visitors they are not allowed to shop elsewhere or they will be cheated by other retailers." -

Mr Thomson said while these practices may not be strictly illegal, they can reduce the enjoyment tourists have while they are in Australia and may affect return visits. “Tourists are entitled to exercise freedom of choice while they are in Australia," he said

“Australia has a very sophisticated consumer protection regime and visitors need to know they have certain rights as consumers while they are here.”

Under the Trade Practices Act 1974, all consumers have basic rights such as freedom o f choice, the right to shop around, and the right to obtain redress if they have a problem with anything they buy.

“Consumer information will now be provided to a number of accessible tourism publications,” Mr Truss said. “These include some produced by overseas tourism, consumer agencies and airlines. Tourist information web sites on the Internet will also be updated.

“While the project will be of great value to visitors to the 2000 Olympics, the initiatives being implemented will continue beyond the year 2000, to ensure future visitors to Australia are well informed of their consumer rights.” .

Contact: CMR1270

Andrew Hall — Minister Truss' Media Adviser — 02 62777790 0419 996766 Craig Regan— Minister Thomson's Media Adviser — 02 62777080 0419 987765