The Australian Association of Convenience Stores (AACS) is disappointed in the Federal Government’s lack of response in helping the convenience store industry fight against illicit tobacco.

Recommendations put forward in a report by the Joint Parliamentary Committee on Law Enforcement (PJCLE) have fallen on deaf ears.

Theo Foukkare, AACS CEO, said many of the recommendations put forward by the PJCLE were seen as highly workable solutions stem the flow of illegal tobacco however the Government has largely ignored them.

“Illicit tobacco not only costs the Federal Government billions of dollars in tax revenue each year, it hurts small retailers who are doing the right thing and playing by the rules. AACS members have had enough when it comes to stopping illegal tobacco and feel abandoned by the Morrison Government’s inaction.”

KPMG has reported that in recent years illicit tobacco makes up 20 per cent of the total tobacco market.

The report by the PJCLE offered solutions including ensuring proper coordination with state law enforcement officials, that states and territories have the requisite laws that align themselves with Commonwealth tobacco packaging laws, and mandating the states to have a strategy for the introduction of infringement notices for point-of-sale enforcement.

“The Federal Government has failed to recognise these solutions, particularly the key recommendations that a National Strategy on Illicit Tobacco, with full State and Territory coordination is pivotal to reversing the spiraling illicit trend.”

Foukkare said AACS is calling on the Prime Minister to recognise the Commonwealth’s responsibility with this problem is more complex than just the good work being done by Border Forces.

“Illicit tobacco threatens the economic recovery of the retail sector from COVID with small businesses across the country struggling to keep their doors open.”

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