The 2023 Asia Pacific Fuel Industry Forum was held at the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre earlier this week. Delegates at the two-day event enjoyed presentations from a range of authoritative speakers who discussed key aspects of the industry’s transition to Low Carbon Mobility and Convenience, under the umbrella conference theme of Positioning for the Future. Speakers included Lorne Chambers (General Manager, Chevron Australia Downstream), Stewart Moreland (CEO, IOR), Ryan Willemsen-Bell (General Manager Future Fuels, Origin Energy), Michael O’Loughlin (CEO 360 Degrees Retail UK) and Angus McKay (CEO, 7 Eleven).

The event concluded with the presentation of the inaugural Australian Fuel & Convenience Awards at the 2023 Asia Pacific Fuel Industry Forum’s Gala Dinner on Wednesday 6 September 2023. These Awards are designed to recognise P&C businesses (Retailers and Suppliers) and fuel supply businesses (Distributors and Wholesalers) that are making tangible contributions to the quality and future viability of the fuel and convenience industry in Australia.

A total of 5 Awards were presented to national winners across 5 different categories to businesses judged to be delivering operational excellence in 4 key areas, namely:

  • Compliance excellence:  Demonstrating a wholesale commitment to wage, public safety and environmental protection via active compliance practices.
  • Creating safe and healthy workplaces:  Implementing actions that are specifically focussed on maintaining the safety, well-being and career development of the people that work within the business.
  • Championing innovation:  Demonstrating leadership in business innovation in a way that delivers tangible benefits for customers and staff.
  • Delivering sustainable outcomes:  Taking action to improve the environmental performance of their business (and the wider industry) in an economically sustainable manner.

The final Award was the Marg Taylor Memorial Award. Named in honour of former APADA/ACAPMA Employee Marg Taylor for her lifelong contribution to the Australian Fuel Industry, this national award seeks to recognise businesses that are demonstrating exceptional leadership and support at a community level.

“The Awards were designed to recognize the best of the best in a national industry that generated over $101B in revenue, collected nearly $16B in federal tax revenues, and employed more than 61000 Australians in the last financial year”, explained ACAPMA CEO Mark McKenzie.

All entrants completed a nomination form addressing the national selection criteria. A group of finalists were then shortlisted for each category by a working group. The selected finalists were then interviewed as part of a validation process used to compile an evidence base for final judging. This process included the preparation of a short expose of each business in the September 2023 Edition of Convenience World Magazine (See: Convenience 360 Archives – Convenience World Magazine)

“In the end, the judges deliberated on a portfolio comprising over 300 pages of information to identify prize winners for each Award Category”, Mark said.

“The ACAPMA Board was at pains to ensure that the Awards were meaningful and credible by insisting on the adoption of an assessment process that maximized transparency and was judged by a group of experts who were wholly independent of the Australian Fuel Industry”, added Mark.

Accordingly, the National Judging Panel comprised leaders of other national industry bodies with extensive understanding of retail and logistics operations. The judges were as follows:

  • Sandy Chong (CEO, Australian Hairdressing Council)
  • Amy Harvey (CEO, Retail Media Group)
  • Marianne Kintzel (CEO, Refrigerated Warehouse and Transport Association of Australia)
  • Peter Strong AM (Former CEO of the Council of Small Business Organisations of Australia)
  • Paul Walsh (CEO, Industry Skills Australia)

So, with the process completed and the judges’ decisions made, 450 dinner guests dressed up and sat down to dinner in the Plaza Ballroom of the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre in anticipation of the presentation of the inaugural 2023 Australian Fuel and Convenience Awards.

The lights dimmed and the judges joined ACAPMA CEO Mark McKenzie and Retail Media CEO Amy Harvey to announce the winners.

And the winners were….

  • 2023 Retailer of the Year (Small): Bennetts Petroleum
  • 2023 Retailer of the Year (Large): Vantage Fuels Bowser Bean
  • 2023 Supplier of the Year (Shop): The Distributors
  • 2023 Supplier of the Year (Equipment & services): Not awarded.


  • 2023 Fuel Distributor of the Year (Small): Adelaide Fuels
  • 2023 Fuel Distributor of the Year (Large): Tasco Inland

With the operational excellence awards done, it was time to announce the winner of the Marg Taylor Award for Community Spirit. This presentation was preceded by a short presentation from ACAPMA’s Executive Manager (Employment & Compliance), Elisha Radwanowski, who explained why this perpetual award has been dedicated to the memory of Marg Taylor in recognition of her lifelong contribution to the Australian fuel industry.

“The judges indicated that the identification of a sole winner of this award was made difficult by the fact that they believed each of the 6 finalists were truly deserving of the Award in their own right. The judges were inspired by the phenomenal contribution that each business had made to the communities in which they operated in recent times”, said Mark.

After much debate, the Judges decided to single out one business for special commendation for their contribution. That business was Tasco Petroleum, and the Award was accepted by Tasco’s Evan Newell.

So, with the ‘runner up’ announced, the room went quiet as Amy Harvey announced that the winner of the 2023 Marg Taylor Award for Community Spirit was ….

2023 Marg Taylor Award for Community Spirit: North Coast Petroleum

The Award was accepted by the owner of North Coast Petroleum, Mick McKinlay. Mick’s heartfelt acceptance speech silenced the audience as he recounted the experience of his team pulling out all stops to first put the business back on its feet, and then to support the Lismore (NSW) community as it struggled to recover from the disastrous 2022 North Coast floods – a process that continues more than 18 months on.

“The North Coast Story is a phenomenal one”, said Mark.

“Our congratulations go to Mick, his team at North Coast Petroleum in NSW and all the winners of the 2023 Australian Fuel & Convenience Awards”, concluded Mark.