Ritchies Stores, the nation’s largest independent supermarket chain, says the Federal Government’s tough new laws to tackle spiralling organised tobacco crime are a good start.
New laws that increase jail sentences and fines for those caught manufacturing illegal tobacco have passed through the lower house.
Ritchies Stores chief executive officer Fred Harrison said introducing tougher laws was an important step in addressing a crime that robbed billions of dollars from taxpayers, governments and businesses.
‘‘I want to thank the Federal Government, and in particular Craig Kelly MP, for the work to address the shocking toll the black market takes on our companies and our nation’s economy,’’ Mr Harrison said.
‘‘This is an important measure and I commend Mr Kelly and the Federal Government for recognising the size of the black market and the concerns of business owners right across Australia.
‘‘I also want to thank the Tobacco Strike Team, which ... has seized over 400 tonnes of illegal tobacco in two years, a value of up to $300million.
Mr Harrison said the strike team’s work had been extremely valuable and continued support was needed to thwart the dangers of the black market.