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Fair trade for all

Monday, 25th August, 2008

The rise in petrol and food prices may be worrying but at least locals can be confident they are getting what they pay for, according to the Minister for Fair Trading, Linda Burney. "Part of the anxiety for everyone is the increase in petrol and food prices," said Ms Burney. "Whilst we have no jurisdiction over pricing, we can make sure people get what they pay for," she said. She said it was at least one area consumers didn't have to worry about, thanks to the efforts of the Office of Fair Trading.

Ms Burney was in the city yesterday supporting her department's "Super RAP" (Regional Access Program) visit to the region. Twenty-two staff are undertaking compliance, education and information activities with local traders and consumers. Officers met local builders, car dealers and repairers, inspected beverage measure compliancy in hotels and clubs, and supermarket scanners and petrol pumps. "Building compliance out here is excellent and people can be confident that the weights and measures of beer glasses and spirits are very accurate," said Ms Burney.

She said there was only one builder out of the 40 inspected who received an infringement notice for being unlicensed. "That's important because if they are not licenced, they cannot provide home warranty insurance...this should be a warning to anyone who does unlicensed work," she said.

The department is also investigating a precious metal dealer but would not release any details.

Ms Burney said it was important that Fair Trading conducted regular compliance visits to places like Broken Hill so that residents were given the same service as their city cousins.

She said overall she was very happy with the results so far.

"The feedback from Broken Hill consumers and traders has been very positive and I look forward to seeing more of these Super RAPs every year."

Ms Burney also spoke to childcare workers at the Maari Ma Aboriginal Health Corporation about the role Fair Trading plays in product safety.

"Inspections by investigators are essential," she said.

"They are constantly on the lookout for toys and other products on sale in shops and at markets which are unsafe for babies and toddlers, particularly toys with small parts that can be ingested.

"But it is also up to carers and parents to make sure that toddlers are supervised and that potentially dangerous items are kept out of their reach."

Ms Burney also attended a consumer information session at Menindee and met local organisations and volunteers in her role as the Minister for Volunteering.

She talked to representatives of the SES, Menindee and Sunset Strip Pensioners' Association, Menindee Charities Inc., RFDS Auxiliary and a group of women who raise funds to buy equipment for the health service.

Ms Burney said such groups formed the backbone of places like Menindee.

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