Consumer rights champion a child of Depression


Rona Okely.
Rona Okely.

Rona Okely, who lived in Maddington for about 45 years, died on January 20 at the age of 90.

She was born in Bunbury in 1925 and spent her early years living in regional towns across the state.

In 1981, Rona volunteered as a founding co-ordinator of the Gosnells Community Legal Centre, which remains an effective community- based support facility today.

She served on many government boards and committees, including the Commercial Tribunal and the Painters’ Registration Board, before proving her credentials as chairwoman of the Motor Vehicle Dealers Licensing Board from 1992 until 2002.

Rona Okely was honoured in 1999 as an outstanding West Australian as part of the centenary of women’s suffrage.

She has a category named after her in the Consumer Protection Awards.

Acting Commissioner for Consumer Protection David Hillyard paid tribute to Rona Okely as an important figure of consumer rights in the state.

“Rona was a child of the Great Depression and that experience influenced her later in life to become a consumer advocate and devote her life to the service of others,” Mr Hillyard said.

“In a unique achievement in those days, Rona was the first woman to be in charge of regulating the male-dominated motor vehicle industry, a role that earned her a great deal of respect and admiration.”