Author: Siska Concannon, Marketing Manager, Unitex.

Is it really that time of year again? Ensue headache…why not, may as well start early.

In case you thought otherwise, I’m not even talking about Christmas. It’s that time of year when people are either winding down or beyond manic, more so the latter these days. Being in Marketing and the Building Industry means I have a list, longer than I like to think too much on, of details that need finalising and projects that need completing all by December 21. Not really the fun, silly season then it would seem.

I guess I should be happy – I am fortunate enough to do a job I love for a company that prides itself on its commitment to its customers and staff, and most importantly, I believe in and respect…not everyone can say that. So I do get irate when I see companies sully the industry with their immoral practices and poor product offering. I may be playing with fire here, but after watching the recent ‘Tele-Movie’ on the real life events of the Australian Asbestos scandal called ‘Devil’s Dust’ (ABC, 11-12 November 2012), it made me angry that not all the companies involved in this scandal were named and shamed but also that this industry is not more tightly regulated.

Following the GFC (Global Financial Crisis) the world wide banks were put under a microscope, Government organisations were created to police the deals and practices of said banks and heavy penalties were sanctioned. Whilst some could argue that the rate of suicide increased, the banks were not directly to blame for this – in other words their product didn’t kill these people. Yet, a company product has (and continues) to kill people and they only get a slap on the wrist. No jail time. No bankruptcy. No anything. Not to mention the other companies involved, with larger mines that have not even faced a slither of reprimand for their involvement.

Not sure if it is a numbers game? Perhaps as it is not on a global scale? Is 60,000 deaths not enough (estimated number of Australian asbestos related deaths by 2030)? Guess the Government doesn’t seem to think so. This industry is one of the most deregulated industries going, and for an industry that manufactures, sells and constructs possibly the most fundamental item all individuals rely on, it is baffling to me why it is still not heavily regulated.

What I hope comes out of this, including an apology to the victims and their families as well as those directly accountable to stand trial, is that there be heavy regulation in this industry. Not lip service like the current system. Quality manufacturers invest in proving their product worth, and proving they have the goods to back up their product marketing statements – the government body placing ‘regulation’ on these products happily take the money, but do nothing to enforce the requirement. To me, this is not enough.

In the meantime I hope that what changes is that the Australian public realise the value in only selecting, nay demanding, high quality products. Now this is not some insensitive marketers statement to make a sales pitch out of a shocking and devastating event, but more a plea. Whatever brand you choose to use on your house or project – know the quality, know what value you are getting out of it, research not only the company but the products. Ask to speak to customers and get their feedback, listen to the experts in the field (Twitter, blogs, Facebook, word of mouth, talk back radio – that don’t receive kick-backs).

This is your project, your life and your money, don’t give it away to a sub-standard company for a sub-standard product.

I would love to hear your feedback on this issue – what has been your experience? Do you agree or disagree that the industry needs more regulation? Your thoughts shape the way this blog continues, so please provide feedback, comments and questions below.