Draft report

Every Victorian relies on essential services. From having clean drinking water, to affordable lighting and heating, sustainable council rates, or accessing energy efficiency products, Victorians across our state use the services we oversee and are affected by our work. 

Sometimes, consumers can experience barriers to accessing these essential services. This creates unnecessary stress, and often worsens the difficulties they are already facing. Not effectively addressing these obstacles can also reduce consumer trust that essential service providers can meet community needs 

Addressing these barriers to accessing essential services matters. We are dedicated to promoting the long-term interests of all Victorians and have already implemented innovative reforms across the energy and water sectors to promote greater support for those in the community experiencing family violence. In the energy sector we created a payment difficulty framework which strengthened the support available to consumers having trouble paying their bills. 

But we recognise we must do more. With the businesses we regulate and administer, the community sector, and other parts of government, we are seeking to better address issues around consumer access to essential services. To do this effectively, we have developed this draft strategy to help improve the experiences of all Victorians who use essential services. 

The final strategy is set for release in mid-2021 and will involve a three-year work plan for implementation, monitoring, evaluation and review. 

This strategy will ensure consumer voices are reflected in our work and will provide the commission with a consistent and long-term approach for addressing consumer vulnerability across the essential services we regulate and administer.

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