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About the Buy Smart Competition

Helping young people to be smart consumers

Young people are already a big part of the marketplace. However, they can face serious risks as consumers—both right now and as they become adults. We run the Buy Smart Competition to help young people learn about marketplace issues and become more informed consumers.

As informed consumers, young people will be able to:

  • recognise and avoid scams
  • increase their financial literacy
  • learn their consumer rights.

The Buy Smart Competition gets young people thinking about these issues in a fun, creative way. Entrants also have a chance at winning a share of over $15,000 in cash prizes for themselves and for their school or youth organisation.

Submissions for the 2017 competition have now closed. Entries closed on Friday 15 September 2017.

Who can enter

Young people can enter the Buy Smart Competition through their school or community youth organisation. They may enter as individuals or in groups of up to six.

Entries are sorted into the following categories (based on current school year):

  • Years 4–6
  • Years 7–9
  • Years 10–12

How to enter

To enter, students must:

  • research a consumer or financial literacy issue
  • think of a target audience that needs to know more about this issue to help them become informed consumers
  • make a creative project to explain the issue and give advice to a target audience.

Issues to explore

Entries must be related to a fair trading consumer issue.

Some suggested topics include:

Hint: Make sure your students use Australian sources to research their issue. International sources may not accurately reflect consumer laws in Australia.

Hint: Entries should focus on giving advice for being informed consumers. For example, if students were to choose to do an entry about “Schoolies week”, their advice could focus on ‘buying online’ or ‘advertising tricks’ rather than liquor licensing laws. Similarly, if a student chose “Fairtrade coffee” as a topic, their entry could focus on ‘shopping around’ or ‘needs versus wants’ rather than a particular certification process or brand.

Judging criteria

Entries will be judged by the following criteria:


  • Does the entry represent the issue in a creative and memorable way?
  • Is the format relevant to the audience?


  • Is the entry suitable for the target audience
  • Is the entry effective in delivering its message?
  • Does the entry offer tips or solutions on how to overcome the identified consumer issue?
  • Is the topic relevant to the target audience and the language, format and design easily understood?


  • Has the entry identified a fair trading consumer issue?


  • Is spelling and grammar correct?
  • Is it well presented?


We offer over $15,000 in cash prizes, including prizes of up to:

  • $500 for the student
  • $2,000 for their school or organisation.

Prizes are also available for runners up and highly commended entries. We also award the School Champion Prize of $1,500 to the most outstanding school or organisation supporting students’ consumer and financial literacy education during the competition period.

We love to hear how past winners have spent their Buy Smart Competition prize money. Here are some examples:


A Brisbane state primary school bought a 3D printer as a resource for its students to use.


A south-east Queensland school bought 3 tablet computers for their enrichment group.


A school bought a video camera, boom microphone and educational robotics kit for their enrichment group.


A regional school bought a tablet computer for students to use in their break-out space to improve learning outcomes.

What's changed?

The Buy Smart Competition 2017 has now closed. Keep an eye out for updates on the 2018 competition here.


The total prize pool has jumped to $15,000—up from $11,000 in 2016. This includes larger prizes for entrants and their schools/organisations. We’ve also introduced a School Champion Prize worth $1,500.

New and updated resources

We’ve developed more classroom activities and significantly updated many of our existing teacher resources.

Australian Curriculum mapping

The Buy Smart Competition is an easy way to deliver content from the Australian Curriculum. It has been aligned to curriculum outcomes in a range of learning areas.

Find out more

Developing your entry

Need help with putting together an entry for this year's competition? These resources can help get you started:

Entry form (PDF, 1.1MB)

Entry development kit (PDF, 4.5MB)

Entry tips (PDF, 1.5MB)

Previous winners (PDF, 5.6MB)

School newsletter templates

We’ve developed templates for primary and secondary schools to include in newsletters, other school resources or promote around the school ground.

Request a school presentation

Fair Trading officers can come to your school to talk to your students about:

  • entering the Buy Smart Competition
  • consumer rights and responsibilities
  • detecting and avoiding scams.

Please fill out the form below to request a presentation. Instructions to submit the completed form are at the bottom of the document.

Download the form

Last updated
26 October 2017
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