2019 CFA Advocacy Prizewinner announced

L-R: ACCC Deputy Chair Delia Rickard, CFA Deputy Chair Gordon Renouf and Lauren Levin

The CFA Prize for Consumer Advocacy is awarded annually at the ACCC National Consumer Congress. Now in its second year, the prize is open to any consumer advocate or advocacy organisation who has conducted consumer advocacy during the previous year.  

This year, the judging panel consisted of Gail Pearson, Gordon Renouf and Delia Rickard. Entries were judged on the following basis: 

  • Importance of issue for consumers generally or a particular group (10%) 
  • Effectiveness of the project in advancing consumers’ interests (60%) 
  • Learnings / insights / modeling that can advance consumer advocacy in Australia (20%) 
  • Quality of the submission (10%) 

The 2019 CFA Advocacy Prize was awarded to Financial Counselling Australia (FCA) for the National Online Gambling Consumer Protection Framework. 

The aim of FCA’s work is to introduce the concept of consumer protection in the online gambling space. As a result of their campaign, the National Online Gambling Consumer Protection Frameworkwas signed by all State/Territory/Federal Governments in November 2018. It includes a ban on gambling credit, national self-exclusion register, pre-commitment and more. 

According to Lauren Levin, Director of Policy and Campaigns at FCA, 

“The game changer was that we took ‘gamblers’ (and a mother) to sit round a table with Ministers, Barry O’Farrell (O’Farrell Review) and the key bureaucrats. They just quietly talked and answered questions. We did this multiple times. It was informal, raw and profound. The people we needed to bat for this cause, just got it.” 

“We used media strategically to tell the story of what companies are doing to people (not how people are irresponsible gamblers) and developed a little band of loyal and brave ‘gambler’ supporters who want to support us to help change policy.” 

“ We’re also working with the banks, who are both participants in the gambling harm space through credit, and witnesses of the harm.”

“There is still so much to do. The Framework is a first generation framework. It can be improved. There’s still important work to be done.”   

Congratulations to Lauren and the team at FCA, as well as all other applicants. The judges commended the high standard of all entries and remarked on the consequently difficult task of choosing a winner. 

Other applicants were: 

  • Consumer Action Law Centre – Junk Insurance and DemandaRefund.com 

DemandARefund.com helps consumers complain, demand money back, and tell insurers and warranty companies to stop selling unnecessary ‘add ons’. 

  • Financial Rights Legal Centre – Insurer Fraud Investigation Practices 

Guilty Until Proven Innocent exposed poor fraud investigation practices by insurers including bullying and harassment. 

  • CHOICE – Product safety campaign  

A campaign for the introduction of a General Safety Provision (GSP), with unsafe products removed from sale in the process of running the campaign. 

  • WEstjustice  – Youth Myki Project 

The project provided free Myki travelling cards to 60 homeless students at four secondary schools.