Around Australia, petrol theft is treated as a civil matter, making legal action cost prohibitive for retailers.

Petrol theft at the pump is a huge problem for retailers in Australia, due to its handling under civil law, however that may be about to change in Victoria thanks to a state opposition proposal to treat the offense as a criminal matter.

The Association of Australasian Convenience stores today congratulated the Victorian Liberal Party for proposing a tougher stance on petrol theft, one which would allow for the establishment of criminal intent in cases, and open up a jurisdiction for police prosecution.

AACS CEO Jeff Rogut, who has lobbied tirelessly to protect fuel retailers from the scourge of petrol theft, said this strong position proposed by the Liberals was very welcome, and represented a new line in the sand in dealing with the spiralling incidences of crime against convenience stores.

“The policy outlined today by Opposition Leader Matthew Guy and Shadow Police Minister Ed O’Donohue seeks to address this dangerous oversight and is welcomed by the convenience sector as a whole, including the small businesses that account for the majority of stores in our industry,” he said.

“We have always supported the hard work of Victoria Police officers who, like the rest of the community, recognise the increasing incidence of crimes against convenience stores. But to date, Victoria Police has not had the support and resources needed from the Victorian Government and the judiciary.

“Only through a zero tolerance approach can we hope to create an environment in which crimes against convenience store owners and staff are genuinely deterred.

“We commend the Opposition’s intention to take a tougher stand on petrol theft.”

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