Consumer Action has provided input into The Treasury’s budget development for financial year 2017-18.
We have identified four budget measures that would, if implemented, enhance justice for all Australians. Justice in this context is about creating a level playing field, and about righting wrongs. These four initiatives are:
- Introduce a Retail Ombudsman or equivalent external dispute resolution (EDR) scheme for disputes involving consumer purchases of goods and services. This would give ordinary Australians access to free, quick and fair justice in consumer markets.
- Forgive VET FEE-HELP debts that were incurred as a result of “unacceptable conduct”. The depth of the exploitation of vulnerable Australians demonstrates the need for the Commonwealth Government to remediate cases of unjust or unlawful enrolment, even when costs cannot be recovered from the offending VET provider.
- Increased for Financial Counselling services, funded through an industry levy, will give more Australians in financial hardship the support and guidance to dig themselves out of crippling debt.
- Restoring funding to, and increasing investment in legal assistance that provides access to justice for low income and disadvantaged people in our community. As demand increases for these services, there is an even greater need to adequately fund Community Legal Centres.