Ms VAGHELA (Western Metropolitan): My adjournment matter is directed to the Minister for Consumer Affairs, Gaming and Liquor Regulation and Minister for Suburban Development, the Honourable Marlene Kairouz. With the concepts of wellness and mindfulness becoming ever more important for consumers, fitness has become a more relevant goal for many people. With a new year comes new fitness goals for many Victorians, meaning a significant spike in the number of people signing up for gyms and fitness centres. The Andrews Labor government is urging those signing up for gym memberships to read the fine print carefully and make sure they understand the costs involved before making any commitments. As we know, Consumer Affairs Victoria received more than 500 contacts regarding fitness centre or gym memberships in the last financial year. While gyms and fitness centres are a great way to maintain a healthy lifestyle, the consumers are being encouraged to understand the terms of contract before signing. A majority of the areas within my electorate of Western Metropolitan Region have above 50 per cent of people who speak a language other than English at home.
The action I seek from the minister is to ensure that these warning messages are published in multiple languages to help protect the people in my area of Western Metropolitan Region.
Ms KAIROUZ (Kororoit—Minister for Consumer Affairs, Gaming and Liquor Regulation, Minister for Suburban Development) (23 April 2020):
Consumer Affairs Victoria provides information to consumers about gym contracts, including unfair contract terms, on its website and via social media. They also have available on their website an easy English fact sheet that explains contracts in simple language.
Additionally, Consumer Affairs Victoria supports a national campaign on an annual basis where each January, states and territories remind consumers about their rights and obligations on a range of consumer issues relating to fitness centres and gymnasiums, including when joining a gym and refund rights.
Consumer Affairs Victoria also offers a telephone advice service, where they provide information and advice in languages other than English.