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Pacific Consumer Protection System Likely To Be Set Up Here

Australia and Fiji are in talks to set up a system here to improve consumer protection in the Pacific. This was confirmed by Australia’s leading consumer organisation – CHOICE chief
11 Aug 2016 11:36
Pacific Consumer Protection System Likely To Be Set Up Here
Comsumer Protection

Australia and Fiji are in talks to set up a system here to improve consumer protection in the Pacific. This was confirmed by Australia’s leading consumer organisation – CHOICE chief executive officer, Alan Kirkland.

Mr Kirkland said at the moment the only consumer organisations that are strong and established are Australia, New Zealand and Fiji.

“And we are very concerned the consumers in other countries in the Pacific are probably not being adequately protected,” he said.

“This is because governments rely on having organisations that understand the consumer experience and articulate the problems that the consumers are facing.

“So the governments can look at what can be done to fix the problems and if there is some way we can work with the Consumer Council here to help create connections with other countries then we would love to do that.”

Mr Kirkland said the centre to tackle consumer problems needs to be created by the Pacific Island countries.

“We think we know what the right solution is but if we can provide some support by mentoring people, it may be helpful in finding access to funding,” he said.

 

Negotiations start

The Consumer Council of Fiji chief executive, Premila Kumar, said this negotiation is just at a starting point.

“We would like this discussion to go to another level so that what we are dreaming of in terms of having something for the Pacific can materialise,” she said.

“It is still at the planning stage.  We will be having series of meeting with other organisations.”

Ms Kumar said they want to see how they can roll out this regional initiative.

“It’s very important for us to have the discussion with the regional organisations and see what level has been interested in partnering with us and how we can go ahead with this initiative,” she said.

Ms Kumar stressed at this stage, the Pacific has no system besides Fiji, Australia and New Zealand.

Ms Kumar said apart from these countries, other Pacific islands are really behind in terms of consumer protection.

“Countries like Vanuatu, Kiribati, Tonga all have expressed their interest,” she said.

However, Ms Kumar added most of them don’t know where to start and how to go about doing it.

“Fiji had been providing services and training to most of the Pacific countries for the past three to four years,” she said.

 

Edited by: RACHNA LAL

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