MGA backs call for urgent action on illicit tobacco

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MGA Independent Retailers has backed calls from the National Party for a coordinated, nationwide approach to combat the illicit trade in regional communities across Australia.

At the party’s 2017 federal conference earlier this month, a motion was passed, acknowledging the serious law-and-order problems caused by illegal tobacco.

MGA Independent Retailers CEO Jos de Bruin thanked the National Party for supporting retailers across the country.

“This is the type of leadership we need on illegal tobacco – an issue that’s devastating family-owned businesses across Australia,” he said.

“The illegal tobacco trade is costing the country $1.6 billion a year in lost excise, and millions more is lost by businesses who are suffering while the criminal trade booms.

“Then, on top of the shocking financial losses, there’s the serious crime and public-safety problems, which affect our shop owners and staff directly.

“The Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission has warned that organised crime gangs are now entrenched in illegal tobacco.

“We appreciate the fact the National Party has acknowledged this huge problem and we call for a coordinated, state, federal and ideally bipartisan response to address it.

“What we need now is all political parties across Australia, and all levels of government, to recognise the significance of the illegal trade and commit to a coordinated response to fight it.

“The only way to address a national crime wave is through nationwide action.”