CEO Jeff Rogut of the Australasian Association of Convenience Stores (AACS) has publically called on the government to act, to protect small businesses and lives in Victoria.
Following the highly publicised crime crisis that has hit Victoria recently, Mr Rogut will soon host a meeting of the Australian Businesses Against Crime forum with the view of taking tougher action against criminals.
Mr Rogut said: “Each week we read reports of criminal gangs perpetuating violent crimes and robberies, with service stations and convenience stores in particular being targeted by these criminals. What we don’t read about are any real deterrents to these crimes”.
“How many violent incidents is it going to take until Victorians see the judiciary hand out sentences appropriate to the trauma inflicted by these criminals and in line with community expectations? Service station robberies are happening almost every day. Surely as a state we can’t accept this as the new norm,” he said.
“We have seen the Opposition declare that, if elected, it will make petrol theft a crime, but we’ve seen or heard nothing from the Government along these lines. Any genuine attempt to crack down on crime should include this obvious and necessary move.
“Similarly, we’ve seen the size and scope of the illicit tobacco ring reported in detail, yet no coordinated strategy to crack down on these crime gangs has been devised.
“All the while, the people who work in the 24/7 convenience industry are feeling less and less safe in going to work. It’s unacceptable and it must stop.
“From the AACS perspective, our position is clear: we will be encouraging our many members, and the thousands of employees in the convenience industry in Victoria, to pressure their local members and use their vote to reinforce a zero-tolerance approach to crime.
“We are at the point where the only stance on crime left to take is a tough one. Small business demands it and so do members of the community,” Mr Rogut said.