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Put safety of consumers first

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18 November 1992 PRESS RELEASE


The Federal Minister for Consumer Affairs cbmtncnts on Melbourne radio this morning that in her portfolio she is acting for Consumers and acting for the public interest, contradict her own actions. ’ 1

If she is genuinely concerned about consumers why has she not addressed the problem I have been drawing to her attention for the past couple of weeks - that is the safety issue of a number of bicycle helmets on the Australian market?

For more than three months, the Minister has had a copy of the 5 August 1992 Technisearch report, which states quite clearly that not only has the helmet I named in Parliament failed safely testing, but

* that many other models of helmets have failed safety testing, some around ventilation openings and others split open when tested in wet conditions;

* that manufacturers were permitted to modify thbir products to eliminate faults; and no helmets were recalled;

* that many models of heltnets on the Australian market failed testing and that the problems were widespread; and

* in practice, this has meant that helmets remain in circulation which could be expected to fail.

Why has the Minister failed to act on the serious matters raised in this report?

I would have thought that given that it is compulsory for all cyclists to wear a helmet and Christmas is fast approaching and parents are looking for presents for their children, that a report which raises serious questions about the safety of helmets on the Australian market would have been investigated immediately.

Parents want, and more importantly need to know which helmets will give their children full protection.

Unfortunately the Minister's lack of action on this issue is denying parents their right to know this information so that they can make decisions to protect the safety of their children. ;

The Minister has still failed to answer the questions 1 put to her over a week ago on this issue.

These are the questions that I want answered: 1. Which are the helmets that failed safety testing and are out in the community being worn by cyclists? ...12

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2. Are those helmets still available for sale bn the Australian market?

3. Do those helmets carry the Standards Australia certification mark of quality and safety?

4. Why were manufacturers not required to recall those helmets that failed testing?

5. Why haven't Australian consumers been notified of those risks to their safety?

Once again I call on the Minister to answer these questions ns a matter of urgency.

How long do we have to wait before the Minister takes action?


For further information contact Fran Bailey - 03 408 6322

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