"Moving forward" on consumer issues

Parties asked to declare policies after leaders squib debate

Consumer advocacy group CHOICE has challenged the major political parties to declare their hand on a range of consumer issues in the lead up to the Federal election.

Letters have been sent to the Government and Opposition parties as well as the Greens asking them to outline their approach to consumer protection and list the five most significant priorities that will face whoever forms government after the August 21 poll.

CHOICE has also delivered a detailed questionnaire which asks the parties to state their policies on 15 specific consumer issues. These include supermarket competition, financial advice and superannuation reforms, household sustainability measures and bank account/credit card reforms.

"Anyone watching Sunday night's leaders' debate would have been disappointed if they were hoping to hear how both sides are proposing to keep a lid on grocery prices and approach the question of supermarket competition," says CHOICE spokesman Christopher Zinn.

"A whole range of measures have been proposed in the Green Paper on consumer credit laws, the Cooper Review into superannuation and the pending changes to the financial advice industry and it's important the major parties state clearly whether they support these reforms or not."

Among other issues, the political parties have been asked if they support a Supermarket Ombudsman and an airline industry code to better protect consumers.

CHOICE is also asking visitors to its website (choice.com.au) to nominate the consumer issue they regard as the most important in the election.

The results of that poll and the responses from the political parties will be published during the last two weeks of the campaign.

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