The focus in this report is on the consumer policy dimensions of COVID-19, including access to essential products and services – encompassing energy, housing, telecommunications and financial services; access to important consumer protections; and the potential for greater harm when living our lives so pervasively online.
However, given the scale and impact of COVID-19 as a health and economic event and its unprecedented impact on consumers, the authors have also taken a more holistic view of relevant policy issues at this time. At various points in this report, they consider the interplay of consumer policy with issues of government income support and economic stimulus measures, and distributional fairness in the funding of consumer support.
- Consumers are central to economic recovery
- Understanding the changing needs of consumers will be essential to designing effective support measures
- Amplified and emerging vulnerabilities are playing out across the Australian community – aggregate figures do not tell the full story
- High household debt levels and use of finite resources mean stimulus and support measures need to be adequately sustained
- Structural shifts present new opportunities and risks in an increasingly online environment