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Consumers to benefit from industry policy

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15 March 1991


The Government's March 12 industry statement "Building a Competitive Australia" will ensure the flow of substantial benefits to Australian consumers of goods and services.

The Federal Minister for Justice and Consumer Affairs, Senator Michael Tate, today singled out proposals for expanding the scope of the Trade Practices Act and introducing product liability legislation as consumer highlights in the document.

Senator Tate said it was particularly appropriate that the statements by the Prime Minister, Treasurer and Industry Minister had been made in the same week as today's World Consumer Rights Day.

The specific policy initiatives and the price impact of tariff decisions were backed up today by the announcement that a specialist consultant had been appointed by the Government.

Sydney consumer credit lawyer Ms Gillian Moon* will provide policy advice on a range of consumer issues including banking and finance, superannuation and insurance and product liability.

Senator Tate said Ms Moon's wide experience in consumer law, her practical knowledge of consumer difficulties, and her background in working with consumer organisations equipped her to make an invaluable contribution to the Government's objectives.

Senator Tate said the overall impact of industry decisions announced on Tuesday would significantly increase competition and efficiency within Australia.

"The more competitive domestic climate will mean lower prices and a broader range of better quality goods and services.

"The Prime Minister has identified the Trade Practices Act as a principal legislative weapon to ensure that consumers get the best deal from competition", Senator Tate said.

P A R L IA M E N T A R Y L M K A R / iv'sCAH

"By proposing, in co-operation with the States and Territories, to expand substantially the coverage of that Act, we have the prospect of providing immense benefits for consumers - with potentially lower professional fees, cheaper road and rail fares

and cheaper electricity".

"The reduction of tariff protection will have a direct impact on prices.

"In textiles, clothing and footwear, Industry Minister Senator John Button has already announced that the Prices Surveillance Authority will monitor prices to ensure that the benefits of lower tariffs are passed on to consumers". ,

Senator Tate said consumers would also benefit from improved rights and more straightforward legal procedures when dealing with injury or damage caused by defective goods.

He confirmed that he would soon take to Federal Cabinet proposals for a product liability law based on standards currently applying in Europe.

"The present cumbersome, complex and often unfair law will be scrapped to give both consumers and manufacturers the advantages of complying with newly emerging international standards", Senator Tate said.

* Ms Moon's CV is attached.

Released by Adrian Wild 06/2777260 or 002/349100


Academic Qualifications

BA (UNE, 1974) '

LL.B (Univ. Syd. 1981)

LL.M (research) Univ Syd - Thesis topic: "How well does the Bankruptcy Act 1966 serve consumer bankrupts?"

Professional Qualifications

1982- Solicitor (NSW)

Employment History

1983- 1984 Consumer Credit Advocate, Redfern Legal Centre

Responsible for the Centre's legal practice in the area of consumer credit and debt law and for law reform and consumer education in relation to that area.

1984- 86 Principal Solicitor, Welfare Rights Centre, Sydney

Conducting the Centre's legal practice in the areas of Social Security and Administrative law.

1986-89 Founder and Principal Solicitor, Consumer Credit Legal Centre, Sydney

Conducting the Centre's litigation practice in the area of consumer financial services law and undertaking research for reform.

1989 Consumer Credit Lawyer (Locum), Redfern Legal Centre

1989-91 Consumer Financial Services Consultant to the consumer movement

Honorary Positions

1988- Member,, Board of Directors, Public Interest Advocacy Centre, Sydney

1990- Member of National Consumer Affairs Advisory Council

1990- Consumer Representative, Australian Banking Industry, Ombudsman Council

1990- Consumer Representative, Commonwealth Bank Interim Consumer Council

1990- Member of the Visiting Committee, Faculty of Law, University of Wollongong