The liquor industry has welcomed the move by the Western Australian Government to implement tougher penalties against people who assault retail workers.

Under the new legislation, which was introduced yesterday in state parliament, the maximum penalty for those found to be assaulting retail workers now stands at up to seven years imprisonment and a fine of $36,000. Those who assault retail workers with a weapon will face harsher penalties, of up to 10 years in prison.

Retail Drinks Australia CEO Michael Waters believes that the new, harsher penalties would provide a deterrent for this behaviour and welcomes the step towards a safer retail liquor industry.

“We are pleased to see the WA Government taking this proactive step aimed at protecting retail liquor staff from shocking abuse and violence from customers which we have seen time and time again in liquor stores across the country.

“The maximum sentences for assaulting retail workers, including seven years’ imprisonment and large fines, send a clear message that this type of abuse is plainly unacceptable and that there are significant consequences for such appalling behaviour.”

Liquor Stores Association of Western Australia (LSA WA) CEO Peter Peck has also welcomed the new legislation, but warned the onus is on the magistrates to ensure that they meet the community’s expectations.

“Kudos to the state Government for introducing the legislation yesterday. It’s been a long time coming,” he said.

“I just hope the justice system does the right thing by the community. We can have all the legislation we want, but if people aren’t being dealt with appropriately in a court of law when they have done the wrong thing, then all faith is lost.

“There have been too many instances in more recent times where offenders, whether it be theft, assault, or verbal abuse, have walked away free.

“These thugs need to be held accountable and the justice system is the last line of defense for our members and thousands of retail workers across the state.”

The announcement follows the nationwide rollout of Retail Drinks’ Safe to Serve initiative, which aims to create a safer environment for retail liquor workers and customers, outlining proactive steps that can be taken at an individual store level to help protect liquor store staff.

“Given the unique customer environment affecting liquor store workers which includes staff having to regularly check identification documents and refusing service of alcohol, we urge all liquor store owners to avail themselves of the Safe to Serve toolkit to make sure their store is as safe as it possibly can be for their staff,” added Waters.

“These resources have been specifically designed to help liquor stores improve the safety of their stores, encouraging business-owners to adopt a range of practical measures such as lighting, CCTV, alarms and the placement of high-value products to enhance staff safety.

“We are proud to support today’s announcement by the WA Government and look forward to the continued roll-out of the Safe to Serve initiative to protect retail liquor workers.”

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *