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Fairness is the very fabric that keeps Australia together. A strong safety net, universal access to essential services, and a living wage that rewards work are the things that give us our character as a nation.

A Blueprint For Fair
CEO, Consumer Action

GERARD BRODY

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Fairness is the very fabric that keeps Australia together. A strong safety net, universal access to essential services, and a living wage that rewards work are the things that give us our character as a nation.

But fairness is not guaranteed. In a market economy that changes rapidly, regulators and law-makers need to keep up to protect the Australian fair go.

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1. The establishment of a Retail Ombudsman to resolve consumer disputes

Australians need a Retail Ombudsman.

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2. A ban on unsolicited sales

Cold calling and door-knocking has had its day.

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3. Prohibition on unfair trading

We need a more up-to-date prohibition on unfair trading.

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4. Close the loophole on “Debt Vultures”

All credit should be treated the same, and capped at no more than 48% per annum.

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5. All credit products should be capped at 48% interest

All credit should be treated the same, and capped at no more than 48% per annum.

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6. Credit Card credit limits to be subject to responsible lending requirements

Credit card providers should be required to assess whether applicants can afford to repay the entire credit limit within 3 years.

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7. CONSUMER LEASES TO BE REGULATED LIKE OTHER FORMS OF CREDIT

The National Credit Code should no longer distinguish between consumer leases and credit contracts.

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8. ESTABLISH A SAFE, GOVERNMENT-BACKED ALTERNATIVE TO FUNERAL INSURANCE

Funeral insurance: simply money down the drain.

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9. Kick-off a Vocational Education and Training (VET) remediation scheme

Analysis by Consumer Action estimated that the Commonwealth may be owed in excess of $1.5 billion on mis-sold VET FEE-HELP loans.

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10. Increase the threshold for bankruptcy from $5K to $20K

Restoring balance for the thousands of households struggling with financial pressures.

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11. Force energy networks to write down their assets to cut energy prices.

Energy networks should not be protected from their poor investment decisions.

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12. Invest $800 million to extend Community Legal Centres, Legal Aid and independent Financial Counselling services.

The Productivity Commission has recommended an annual boost in legal assistance services funding.

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