We’ve just had something unusual happen - every cot tested in the CHOICE labs recently passed safety requirements!
This shouldn’t be unusual, but in past tests we’ve seen huge numbers of cots fail the safety tests. We’ve been in the news talking about the unsafe cots for months, sending referrals to the ACCC and directly contacting manufacturers to tell them to up their game. It’s great to see that the message is finally sinking in.
But it highlights a broader problem with product safety - it shouldn’t be up to CHOICE to police every product in the market, and get individual industries to make their unsafe products better. It also takes far too long. Businesses should design things to be safe from the start.
So, why aren’t they? It could be because there is no general, market-wide requirement in Australian law that says businesses can only sell safe products.
This is a major loophole, and one that other countries have dealt with. The UK, Canada and the EU all have in place ‘general safety provisions’ that require all businesses to sell safe products.
The situation in Australia is different - we have a range of legal requirements that can kick in after a product has been released and caused a problem, but we have nothing that puts a proactive safety obligation on businesses.
CHOICE has been campaigning for this to change for quite some time, and we were seeing progress but politicians and bureaucrats are stalling now. We’re responding by calling on both major parties to make an election commitment to fixing our product safety law by introducing a general safety provision.
If you have time, it would be great if you could join us and send an email to the relevant Ministers - choice.com.au/productsafety
This is a sensible reform, but we need to show our parliamentarians that the general public backs this change, especially in the lead up to the election.