Incoming ACCC Chair supports better funded consumer advocacy

Rod Sims ACCC Chair

Rod Sims, the Chair of the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal (IPART) in NSW, expressed his support for better consumer engagement in regulatory decisions and said more funding was required to help consumers participate. He noted that this was a challenge he will carry into his new role as Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) Chair, when he steps into the position on 1 August 2011.

Mr Sims launched IPART’s discussion paper and consultation process on improving customer engagement at the Public Interest Advocacy Centre’s Energy and Water Consumers Advocacy Program conference on 27 June 2011. He said the lack of consumer engagement was not restricted to the energy sector; in fact, it cuts across the whole regulatory landscape. More resources were required for consumer input – and that on technical issues it would need to be substantial.

Mr Sims also said that consumer engagement had its greatest impact before regulatory submissions were finalised. And that a continuing challenge for regulators was to ensure the interests of a range of consumers were heard.

The full version of his speech is at:  [ilink url=”http://www.ipart.nsw.gov.au/files/Speech%20-%20Competition%20and%20Consumers%20Conference%20-%20Public%20Interest%20Advocacy%20Centre%20-%20%2024%20June%202011%20-%20Rod%20Sims%20-%20Website%20version.pdf”]Rod Sims’ speech at PIAC conference[/ilink]

IPART is seeking input from stakeholders – a discussion paper and fact sheet on Customer engagement on prices for monopoly services, are on [ilink url=”http://ipart.nsw.gov.au/latest-news.asp?id=292″]IPART’s website[/ilink]

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