Fair trading budget cuts put consumers at risk

Shadow Minister flags areas of concern including strata laws and ticket scalping.
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01.Tattoo parlours, electronics and con men under less scrutiny

Fair Trading budget cuts could compromise consumer protections

NSW Shadow Minister for Fair Trading Tania Mihailuk was less than impressed by the Baird government's recent slashing of $20m from the state agency’s budget. 

The latest financial squeeze follows layoffs of nearly 300 staff members and a $15m reduction in funding over the past three and a half years, Ms Mihailuk pointed out. 

Meanwhile, NSW Fair Trading has seen its workload expand over the past 18 months, including new responsibilities around synthetic drugs and licensing for the tattoo industry

In earlier comments to the media Ms Mihailuk said NSW Fair Trading had been tasked with “reducing the influence of outlaw motorcycle gangs in the tattoo parlour industry."

High turnover at the top has also jeopardised consumer protections, Ms Mihailuk said. Among other things, having three new Fair Trading Ministers in the past eight months “has unreasonably delayed vital legislation relating to the reform of strata laws and ticket scalping”.

Ms Mihailuk says current Minister for Fair Trading Matthew Mason-Cox “needs to guarantee that these savage cuts do not hinder Fair Trading from maintaining the current level of investigations into consumer complaints, prosecution of dodgy conmen, and making sure that products sold in NSW are safe for purchase”.

She added that the current leadership has a responsibility to prevent the budget cuts from allowing “dangerous and faulty electrical goods” to make it to market. 

In January 2013 Ms Mihailuk revealed that budget cuts under the O'Farrell government had resulted in a significant reduction of complaints being investigated and resolved. 



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