SDA Urges government to get tough on aggressive behaviour

July 2, 2024 News No One Deserves A Serve

Justin Power – SDA State Secretary

The SDA and other stakeholders have been urging state and territory governments across the country to implement tougher penalties for people who assault retail workers for some time.

In many states across Australia, deterrence is lacking. Aggressive behaviour in the form of assault has a severe impact on the health and wellbeing of frontline retail staff but, importantly, it’s also a criminal act and it must be treated as such.

Last year, the South Australian Government introduced a maximum penalty of five years imprisonment for people convicted of basic assault against a retail worker on the job and seven years when the assault causes harm.

The SDA Queensland Branch has continually campaigned against customer violence and for increased penalties for offenders. With customer abuse and violence on the rise, retail and fast food employees throughout the country continue to endure physical violence and assaults in their workplaces.

In June, new laws were introduced to Queensland parliament setting out enhanced protections for workers. Under this legislation, assaults in the workplace will be an aggravated sentencing factor for judges to consider when sentencing an offender.

This means workers who work in the retail and fast food industries, will be given extra protection from customers who physically assault them.

Retail workers should not be abused simply for doing their job and ensuring shoppers get the food they need and the other essentials of life.

In 2017, the SDA launched a major national campaign ‘No One Deserves a Serve’ to stop the abuse and violence towards retail and fast-food workers by customers. This followed research carried out by the SDA, involving 6,000 retail and fast-food workers which found that over 85% of them had experienced abuse from customers at work.

The SDA Queensland Branch congratulates the Miles Government on its proposed amendments to Section 9 of the Penalties and Sentences Act 1992.

The Miles Government’s proposed amendments to section 9 will increase the consequences for those customers who physically assault our members and importantly, act as a deterrent from those assaults occurring in the first place.