ACAPMA recently lodged a formal submission to the Victorian Government’s Fuel Drive-off Inquiry. The clear message to Government was that our industry has had a gutful of past approaches to fuel theft as these approaches appear to have contributed to a tripling of industry loss since 2013 – from an estimated $3.8M to an estimated $10.4M this year. ACAPMA’s submission has called on the government to fund the installation of number plate recognition cameras on the forecourts of all service stations not currently fitted with this technology and for the simultaneous introduction of a new traffic offence (on-the-spot fine) for fuel drive offs – with the revenue from these fines used to fund the installation of the cameras at a zero cost to government.
Late last week, ACAPMA lodged their submission to the Fuel Drive-Off Inquiry currently being conducted by the Victorian Law Reform, Road and Community Safety Committee, which can be downloaded by clicking here.
This Committee launched an Inquiry into fuel theft earlier this year and is now reviewing submissions from all interested parties prior to providing a formal report to the Victorian Government on this issue by 3 December 2015.
ACAPMA’s submission sought to quantify the growth in fuel theft across the State’s retail fuel network of 1455 outlets, noting that the average monthly loss had increased from an average of loss of $220 per month in early 2013 to more than $600 per month in 2015.
“It appears that public exposure of the Victorian Police’s 2013 position that fuel theft would not be enforced by the Police has resulted in some elements of the community believing that service stations are fair game as far as fuel theft is concerned”, said ACAPMA CEO Mark McKenzie
While ACAPMA and the rest of the industry was originally prepared to see if this approach would work – albeit reluctantly – the tripling of fuel theft since the Victorian Police announced their position clearly indicates it isn’t working.
“And fuel retailers (and their suppliers) have been the big losers over this time”, said Mark.
While others have called for the installation of cameras in the past, ACAPMA observed that these solutions did not address the significant resourcing, funding and privacy issues associated with industry continuing to be responsible for enforcement of offences.
“Our solution proposes that the government introduce surveillance cameras and introduce a new fuel drive off offence that would see fuel theft treated in the same way as speed camera and red light camera offences are managed by the Police and VicRoads”, said Mark
Importantly, ACAPMA has estimated that at the current incidence of fuel theft, a 75% capture rate would see the government’s investment paid back in the first year of operation whilst also establishing an effective deterrent to fuel theft in future years.
“We believe that this solution is a solution that could be implemented across Australia, and provide an opportunity for Victoria to move from a laggard on this issue to a national leader”, said Mark.
ACAPMA has indicated a willingness to assist the Committee (and the Government) in exploring the merits of this proposal over coming months.
In the meantime, ACAPMA welcomes continued feedback from members on this issue.
Members wishing to provide input are asked to contact Mark McKenzie on 1300 160 270 or email to firstname.lastname@example.org.