The Australian Association of Convenience Stores (AACS) has welcomed Victorian Premier Jacinta Allan’s announcement today that businesses in the state will soon need a license to sell tobacco, after years of lobbying by the retail industry.

AACS CEO Theo Foukkare said he and over 1700 members were eager to work with the Victorian Government to get the licensing scheme on track and in place as soon as possible “AACS has been calling for a tobacco licensing scheme in Victoria for years now and we welcome Premier Allan’s announcement today.

“We want to work side-by-side with the Victorian Government to help develop the scheme so that it suits both authorities and retailers.

“It’s important that we sit down with the Victorian Government now to talk through the details, and we are very keen to be part of the working group that will help shape this important law.

“The scheme must be suitable for compliant retailers and it’s essential it doesn’t put unnecessary burdens or costs on small businesses that have been doing the right thing.,” he said.

Mr Foukkare said Victoria is the only jurisdiction in Australia where any business can sell tobacco without a license.

“A Better Regulation Victoria Review made six recommendations to the Victorian Government some time ago and AACS fully supports each of them,” he said.

“We’re pleased that the Government has read the report and taken the central recommendation for a licensing scheme.

Mr Foukkare said – once in place – the licensing laws will mean only retailers that have passed a strict application process will be able to sell regulated tobacco products legally.

“They will need to follow strict laws to prevent the sale of regulated tobacco products to anyone under 18.

“Enforcement will be a key feature of this because we need to make sure authorities are coming down hard on anyone caught selling tobacco illegally will be shut down and feel the full force of the law,” he said.

Theo Foukkare is available for interview on 0423 003 133

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