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AACS criticises WA tobacco regulations

tobaccoConvenience industry group Australasian Association of Convenience Stores (AACS) has criticised the West Australian Government for introducing new legal tobacco display regulations at the cost of retailers.

The group said that deputy premier and minister for Health Roger Cook refused to work with AACS as the signing took effect on Monday.

The new tobacco regulation state that displays must be implemented at the store’s own cost.

The changes, part of the Tobacco Products Control Amendment Regulations 2019, require all retail price boards to decrease from 1 square metre to an A4 sheet size. The graphic images to warn smokers on its health effects should appear next to the price boards. Retailers are told to apply the changes immediately or risk non-compliance with legal tobacco retailing rules if they don’t adhere to the new regulations, according to AACS.

AACS CEO Jeff Rogut said there was a lack of consultation and notification that is deemed unacceptable.

“This is another example of Governments rushing through rules having completely ignored their responsibility to consult with industry and notify those about to bear the brunt of the changes, namely small businesses like convenience stores,” Rogut said.

“Convenience stores are responsible retailers which are repeatedly treated with disdain by Governments when it comes to the introduction of new regulations, especially around the sale of legal tobacco.

“These changes require new infrastructure in stores and new training for staff. These costs add up quickly, without subsidisation or opportunities for recourse. The changes need to be coordinated by small business owners immediately, when they should be free and empowered to focus on the operation and performance of their stores.”

He added that it was impractical to apply sudden changes and force retailers to implement them immediately. He said that small businesses weren’t consulted on the changes and didn’t have time to fully understand the new regulations.

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