January 8, 2018: Fed up with the lack of Government support for proper deterrents and judicial accountability to counter Victoria’s crime crisis, Jeff Rogut of the Australasian Association of Convenience Stores (AACS) has publicly called for action to not only protect small businesses, but to save people’s lives.

Mr Rogut will soon host another meeting of the Australian Businesses Against Crime forum to bring together business groups, law enforcement authorities, politicians and other stakeholders with a view to taking tougher action against criminals who target businesses without fear or deterrents.

“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,” Mr Rogut says.

“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.

“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 says.

Further information:
Jeff Rogut
Chief Executive Officer
Australasian Association of Convenience Stores
Ph: +61 467 873 789

Media enquiries:
Stephen Naylor
Wise McBaron Communication
Ph: +61 (2) 9279 4770