QCA check on disability aids
LOCAL businesses and community groups have welcomed the news there will be an investigation into pricing disparities of disability aids and equipment.
The State Government has directed the Queensland Competition Authority to investigate price irregularities of disability equipment between Queensland, other states and overseas.
The review would aim to identify the cause of any price discriminations and then propose actions that could be undertaken by government.
Bundaberg Mobility Centre owner Reon Robert said the review was long overdue.
"I think it is absolutely necessary," he said.
"Especially now people can buy a lot of these products online from overseas suppliers."
Mr Robert, who provides equipment such as wheelchairs, bathroom aids and many other accessories to clients across the region, said many had been caught out with warranty issues for defective products bought overseas.
"It's frustrating because people come in with specific products they've bought overseas to repair and we can't get the parts for it," he said.
"We had a customer in Childers that had bought a handset from America but when it arrived it wouldn't work.
"Many people have lost money when they find out they're not covered."
Mr Robert said it was difficult to compete with overseas suppliers.
"We had a customer in Childers who bought a handset from America for the equivalent of AU$100," he said.
"For that same product we would have to pay AU$500."
Southern Cross Support Services managing director Karen Gaston said prices for equipment had been an ongoing issue for clients.
"People with disability often have medications and other things associated with their disability," she said.
"The cost of equipment is just another thing that adds to the pressure."
Interested parties have been invited to provide public submissions by September 30 with an interim report due to the government by November 25 and the final report due by February 28, 2014.