“Myself and our Retail Members representing more than 7300 Petrol & Convenience stores nationally respectfully disagree with SA Police Commissioner Grant Stevens comments over recent days that the industry could ‘fix fuel theft overnight’, by simply getting drivers to prepay.

“The fuel and convenience retail industry has changed dramatically over the past decade and a high number of motorists come into the retail store to purchase their food, drinks, top up grocery items or a snack.

“30 per cent of all customers purchase items from inside the store when they buy fuel, delivering over $3 billion in retail sales nationally.

“Forcing consumers to pre-pay puts this $3 billion of sales – in an industry that employees over 80,000 frontline staff – at huge risk of being lost.

”Adopting a mandatory prepayment model for fuel would be like asking all supermarket shoppers to authorise payment for milk or bread before entering the store.

It would restrict their ability to buy anything else – it is just not feasible, and that industry would lose billions. The same applies for our industry.

“Less than half of all our customers now only purchase fuel when they visit our stores, and this continues to decline as the retail offer continues to grow in food, coffee and beverage offers.

Without our industry operating on an economically sustainable model, the jobs of tens of thousands of Aussies could be wiped out.

“For customers only wanting fuel, some retailers have implemented a ‘pay in app’ facility so customers who don’t want to purchase anything in store can have their preferred payment option loaded in the app and this is how they process payment, which is authorised prior to putting fuel in their vehicle.

“Fuel retailers continue to invest in technology to better identify and stop repeat fuel theft offenders, through the use of automatic number plate recognition cameras that are linked to the point of sale in store, notifying the operator to not authorise the pump prior to pre-payment, along with enhanced training of staff.

“Additionally, there are now broader retail crime reporting and compliance systems that continue to be rolled out by retailers across different channels, which are providing police with greater information on repeat offenders – not just on fuel theft, but theft from hardware stores, supermarkets and other retail settings.

“Our industry will continue to invest in technology and security to address this issue, and we will continue to work with all police in all states & territories.”

Theo Foukkare is available for interview on 0423 003 133

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