Woolworths Group today welcomed a move by the New South Wales Government to strengthen laws with tougher penalties for abuse against retail workers.
Comments attributable to Woolworths Group CEO Brad Banducci:
This is a significant day for our 50,000+ hard working retail team members across New South Wales.
While, by far, the vast majority of our customers are respectful, there is no avoiding the fact that retail worker abuse is on the rise.
In response, we have been investing in a range of new measures to better protect our team against violence, threats and abuse.
All retail workers across the industry have the right to feel safe at work.
Many of our team work and live in their local community and deserve to be treated with kindness and respect.
We commend the Minns Government for acting quickly and decisively to better protect retail workers.
We also thank the Australian Retailers Association and SDA for their continued support in tackling this issue.
There have been more than 540 serious incidents across Woolworths Group’s New South Wales stores in the past year and recorded more than 1,700 serious incidents in the past 12 months across Australia.
The NSW Crimes Legislation Amendment (Assaults on Retail Workers) Bill 2023 will introduce three new offences into the Crimes Act 1900. The reforms make it an offence to:
- assault, throw a missile at, stalk, harass or intimidate a retail worker in the course of the worker’s duty, even if no actual bodily harm is caused to the worker, with a maximum penalty of 4 years’ imprisonment.
- assault a retail worker in the course of the worker’s duty and cause actual bodily harm to the worker, with a maximum penalty of 6 years’ imprisonment.
- wound or cause grievous bodily harm to a retail worker in the course of the worker’s duty, being reckless as to causing actual bodily harm to the worker or another person, with a maximum penalty of 11 years’ imprisonment.
The South Australian Government also strengthened penalties for the abuse of retail workers in 2022.