In Melbourne on 12 August, the Hon Wade Noonan, Minister for Corrections, Minister for Police and MLA for Williamstown, addressed the AACS Convenience Leaders Summit on the issue of petrol theft. Noting that, since July 2013, police operating procedure is not to follow up “drive offs” unless there is evidence of criminality (e.g. stolen car or plates), Mr Noonan acknowledged that it was difficult to differentiate between forgetfulness and dishonest intentions in cases of drive-off however the civil manner in which such cases were treated hurt not just big multinational companies but small businesses.
With this in mind, and after receiving representations from AACS whilst in opposition, Mr Noonan said it was his hope that, as the first jurisdiction to conduct a Parliamentary Inquiry into the matter, Victoria would lead Australia in taking action to resolve this problem.
The role of the Victorian inquiry is to compile through a process of submissions evidence to report to government after which the government would make a determination within six months.
By recognising the problem, investigating solutions and finding a way forward with transparent and public recommendations it is hoped that this enormously costly issue can be addressed.
Concluding his presentation, Mr Noonan thanked the Australasian Association of Convenience Stores and its CEO Jeff Rogut for being a leader and not limiting its efforts to the government of the day but successfully raising it over a period of time with both the opposition and then government.
AACS efforts in having raised the matter with the current government while it was in opposition and continuing to successfully argue for reform has been instrumental in the establishment of the current Parliamentary Inquiry.