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Empowering Australians

Empowering Consumers and Users of Services

 Banking and finance   Health care   Utilities   Schools   Food  Telecommunications  Retailing  Aged care  Public transport

Melbourne 5-6 August 2013
Angliss Conference Centre

This Consumer Summit over two days will explore strategies for empowering consumers and users of services, and developing consumer power, voice and innovation in Australia across a wide range of economic and social sectors.  

Unlike many western countries, Australia lacks a well-established consumer movement that takes a prominent place in national affairs. There are consumer action groups in a number of industry areas; users of services groups in some social policy fields; and there is a national product review magazine called CHOICE.

But these groups do not constitute a consumer movement that shapes national policy and speaks with the same status as producer groups in industry, provider groups in social policy, or employee organisations in the workforce.

Consumer advocacy in economic fields (banking, telecommunications, food quality and pricing) has developed quite separately from consumer advocacy in social fields (health, aged care, public transport).

Tools for enhancing the market power of consumers are relatively undeveloped in Australia compared to other western countries. Consumer cooperative movements were quite strong until the 1920s, then declined as political movements concentrated on producers and providers. Consumer brokers in home  mortgages, insurances, disability and aged care have emerged in the last ten years, usually from the private sector rather than from consumers themselves.

Innovations that enhance consumer information and choice have arisen more recently. Product selection and price comparison technologies have become available, from both the private sector (health insurance, cars) and government (My School, My Hospital). Technology-based Innovations that cut out the middle man (e-Bay, online retailing) have emerged strongly, usually from the private sector rather than consumers directly.

This conference will explore these consumer issues in three streams: Voice, Enterprise, and Innovation.

A Consumer Power Social Enterprise Workshop will follow the conference on Wednesday 7th August. It will explore the aggregation of consumer market power in various economic and social sectors with a view to development of demand aggregation social enterprises to enhance consumer market power.

Conference participants are invited to attend this additional (and optional) event.

CLICK HERE to register

Call for Papers

Papers, presentations, workshops and displays are invited on issues, case studies and strategies for empowering consumers and users of services.

Contributions will be sought in each of the three summit streams of Voice, Enterprise, and Innovation.

Abstracts in no more than 300 words should be forwarded by 30 June 2013.

CLICK HERE to express an interest in contributing a paper or presentation. 

Who Should Attend? 

The summit is open to all consumers, as well as innovators, social entrepreneurs, policy makers, associations and advocates of people with disadvantages.

CLICK HERE to register

Registration Fees (Cost includes GST)
August 5-6
August 7

  Individuals, users of services (self-funded, not paid for by their employer) $88 $55

  Groups (self-help, advocacy, community) $253 $132

  Mutuals, cooperatives, trade unions $330 $176

  Service providers $440 $220

  Academics, researchers $440 $220

  Commercial (trainers, consultants, planners) $550 $275

  Government $660 $330


CLICK HERE to register

Further information

Vern Hughes
0425 722 890




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