New laws in Western Australia to help protect retail workers, including liquor store staff, from violent offenders have been welcomed.

The new legislation will see serial shoplifters and violent offenders who target retail staff facing gaol time. Offenders who attack staff in the course of their duties, will now face up to seven years in prison and a maximum of 10 years imprisonment in cases where a weapon is used.

Repeat offenders charged with multiple low level stealing offences also face potential jail time after their third offence within 12-months.

LSA WA Chief Executive Peter Peck said the new laws were a significant and progressive step forward to ensure a safe working environment.

“It’s a good step to protect workers and keep people safe in their daily jobs” he said.

“For far too long, retail workers have been treated like punching bags by gutless thugs and I’m hoping these new laws will eventually put a stop to the violence and abuse they suffer every day.

“I commend the state government on getting the job done,” Peck added.

“This now is a perfect opportunity to investigate if some kind of court ordered intervention can happen at the first offence for low level stealing.

“Nobody wants the offender to commit three offences and face serious consequences such as the prospect of jail time without exhausting every option to turn their lives around.

“We have a perfect opportunity to make a real difference and I look forward to working with the state government to continue to deliver a better outcome for all.”

Retail Drinks Australia also welcomed the new laws, with CEO Michael Waters saying: “Retail Drinks welcomes the new laws now in place in Western Australia targeting individuals assaulting liquor retail workers with harsher penalties. 

“There is simply no place in society for such behaviour and these new laws send a strong message that those responsible for such reprehensible attacks are punished to the full extent of the law.”

“We call on other jurisdictions to adopt similarly strengthened measures to help protect liquor retail workers across the country. 

“Retail Drinks has witnessed the scourge of violence against staff first hand at our Member stores and has encouraged all store-owners to implement a range of practical solutions to target-harden their businesses through our recently launched Safe to Serve initiative.”

Andy Young

Andy joined Intermedia as Editor of The Shout in 2015, writing news on a daily basis and also writing features for National Liquor News. Now Managing Editor of both The Shout and Bars and Clubs.

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