Declare convenience an essential service, says AACS

The Australasian Association of Convenience Stores are calling on the government to declare the industry an essential service, amid the unprecedented challenges presented by Covid-19.

And are calling for the industry to be declared an essential service, citing their vital role in providing fuel and essentials to local communities.

AACS CEO Jeff Rogut said the industry has a vital role to play in the community during a crisis, as seen during the recent bush fires, in providing fuel and essentials.

Adding many business owners already grappling with balancing protecting their business with servicing the community, as well as staff rostering complications, worker shortages, fuel scheduling and inventory control.

Mr Rogut has called on government ministers to offer support and to consider declaring the industry an essential service, which would allow business to operate with exemptions to business restrictions, should the situation escalate.

“Given the increased need for supplies at the local level, peoples’ hesitation to visit larger centres, as well as the need for fuel for emergency vehicles, among other reasons, we believe there is a case for convenience stores including service stations to be declared as essential services,” Mr Rogut sais.

“To this end we’ve written to Government to understand how our industry can provide greater assistance and support to its initiatives so that if and when circumstances are required to change, we can adapt accordingly for our customers.

“Convenience stores are local places for people to buy milk, bread, food and beverages, and other essential items. We want to continue to be able to do this in the most convenient way possible, and this means keeping as many stores trading for longer hours as possible.”

Among the measures Mr Rogut would like to see introduced include granting temporary work visas in anticipation of staff shortages, extended truck supply deliveries, including fuel.

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