Government’s fuel drive-offs response not the answer

Melbourne, 11 March – Victorian motorists and fuel retailers will continue to be exposed to the consequences
of fuel theft if the recommendations of a government response into this serious crime are adopted, says
the Victorian Automobile Chamber of Commerce (VACC). 

The Parliament of Victoria Law Reform, Road and Community Safety Committee’s Inquiry into fuel drive-offs
proposed eight recommendations, but few go to the heart of the issue, VACC Executive Director, Geoff Gwilym, said. 

“VACC commends the Parliament of Victoria Committee for considering the many issues related to this serious crime.
As the peak body for independent fuel retailers in this state, VACC can see some positive outcomes in the Committee’s recommendations.” 

VACC agrees with several parts of the Inquiry into fuel drive-offs. Recommendations concerning access to
VicRoads’ stolen vehicle and number plate data; Victoria Police-produced consumer and industry guides;
six-monthly stakeholder forums; and adopting a consultative approach between government, Victoria Police,
Crime Stoppers, VicRoads and other stakeholders are worthy initiatives. But these alone will not significantly
lower the incidence of fuel theft in Victoria. 

“At the heart of the issue is this: fuel theft is a crime and the Committee’s recommendation that implementing
pre-pay systems at service stations be considered will not solve this issue for the many small business owners
who are regular victims of this crime,” Mr Gwilym said. 

VACC, on behalf of fuel retailers in this state, calls on Victoria Police to act promptly on reported fuel theft, and
to treat this act as a crime, like any other serious theft. 

“Potential fuel thieves need to know that stealing fuel is a crime punishable by law, and that if they commit fuel
theft crime they stand a good chance of being caught: that’s the answer,” Mr Gwilym said. 

VACC is Victoria’s peak automotive industry body representing more than 5,000 small automotive businesses.

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VACC Executive Director, Geoff Gwilym PDF Release
VACC Executive Director, Geoff Gwilym, says Victoria Police must start treating fuel theft as a crime, not a civil matter