The following is a response by the retail bodies in reply to the open letter that was received by Convenience World magazine on 26.3.20.
Australasian Convenience and Petroleum Marketers Association (ACAPMA)
“Our members and their people are under extreme pressure at the moment. As their industry body we must ride through this crisis with them and do all we can possibly can to help. Our entire operation is focussed on listening daily to the issues raised by our members, securing quick responses from all Australian Governments and then getting accurate and timely information out to our members as quickly as possible. There is still much to do,” ACAPMA CEO Mark McKenzie said.
“Thankfully, we have the benefit of working cooperatively with 33 other national bodies under the Council of Small Business Organisations of Australia (COSBOA) and this partnership is giving us the opportunity to champion common business concerns at the highest levels of Government,” Mr McKenzie added.
“Many of the issues we are hearing about relate to the convenience side of the business and we are dealing with these in the same way as we deal with fuel related issues. After all, these days service stations are integrated businesses selling fuel and non-fuel products and we must work to minimise harm for the total business,” Mr McKenzie said.
Mark McKenzie, CEO ACAPMA
Australasian Association of Convenience Stores (AACS)
AACS acknowledges increased anxiety among consumers and businesses amid the COVID-19 crisis.
These are unprecedented times and we know that everyone is concerned about what COVID-19 means to them, their families, their loved ones, their jobs and their businesses.
We believe this is a time for communities to come together and we know that convenience stores have a critical role to play in communities.
We condemn individuals, businesses and organisations that seek to profiteer, engage in opportunism and gain political advantage from a global crisis that affects so many.
We believe the best outcomes are achieved through open and pragmatic discussions with a solutions-focus for industry, not through anonymous keyboard warfare motivated by personal interests.
We will continue to take an ethical stance in the way we operate and the way we communicate. Where we are critical of Government, the judiciary, the legislature or any other body, we will do more than identify problems, we will offer solutions.
Our lines of communication are always open. Where members require support and assistance on a specific matter or to address a specific concern, they know where to find us and we are unstinting in our endeavours to assist them.
AACS lobbies Government and other bodies on behalf of its members and the outcomes are plain to see.
We recently successfully lobbied Government to have our industry declared an ‘essential service’, a critical development at this time for our members, the industry at large, and consumers.
We lobby the ACCC as part of our critical representation on the Small Business & Franchising Consultative Committee, supporting the interests of business owners and their employees on an ongoing basis.
We consistently lobby against the proposed introduction of a ‘sugar tax’ and a ‘soft drink tax’, which the Morrison Government has indefinitely ruled out introducing.
We are in constant discussions through open lines of communication with key politicians and ministers in the areas of tobacco regulations and illicit tobacco, crime including petrol theft, taxation and costs of doing business, franchising regulations and other issues pertinent to our members.
We support all these efforts through a loud and consistent voice in media, advocating on behalf of our members and the industry.
AACS is extremely and consistently vocal on the issue of crime.
We work with bodies like Crime Stoppers to reinforce the frequency of robberies and aggressive behaviour committed against convenience stores, securing support among law enforcement representatives for these crimes to be characterised as particularly serious, warranting severe punishments.
In numerous jurisdictions, we have succeeded in ensuring petrol theft is viewed as a crime and is investigated as such.
AACS is there for its members.
When members approach us for support or assistance, we act quickly and decisively.
Our members have requested assistance on the issue of crime and the incidence of aggression. We have made available training to members and their teams which covers identifying risks, de-escalating volatile situations, providing access to third party support and counselling, and other measures to support staff and businesses.
As the COVID-19 crisis unfolds, we are holding regular discussions with suppliers to ensure that convenience stores continue to receive adequate supplies, particularly for products such as sanitisers, paper goods, hygiene and cleaning products.
The Founder of ServoPro only this this morning commented on “the good work you and the team are doing for our independent members and network”.
AACS is the peak body for the convenience industry in Australia.
We count among our members the leading and most innovative suppliers and retailers to the convenience industry.
We know through direct feedback the value of the research, information, advice and reports we produce for members, which is reflected in the consistent growth of our memberships base over the years.
We have established ties with key international counterpart organisations, ensuring our Australian members are aware of the latest innovations and have access to the latest information to give them the best chance of success.
We pursue the long-term growth of the convenience industry by advocating on behalf of members and their customers, providing reliable information, practical resources, innovative insights and opportunities to connect, to further their interests and support their success.
We’ve been doing this for 30 years.
Jeff Rogut, CEO AACS