Community Safety

Joint Media Release | Albanese Government Fails to Act to Address Illicit Tobacco in our Communities | 01 July 2024

July 1, 2024

Monday 1 July 2024
Joint Media Release
Subjects: Illicit Tobacco

More than six months since the Coalition forced the Albanese Labor Government to establish an Illicit Tobacco and E-Cigarette Commissioner, it is still yet to make a formal appointment.

The Government promised to establish a new Illicit Tobacco and E-Cigarette Commissioner by supporting the Coalition’s amendment to their Tobacco Bill in December last year.

The announcement today of an interim, stand-in Commissioner proves that the Government is dragging its feet on permanently setting up this critical new role.

The illicit tobacco and vaping black market is out-of-control as organised crime syndicates are making money hand over fist and wreaking havoc in our communities.

The Coalition has repeatedly called on the Government to act quickly in setting up the Commissioner so that they can get on with the job of cracking down on organised crime.

Shadow Minister for Health and Aged Care, Senator Anne Ruston said that the Coalition has been seeking an update from Government on the Commissioner for months.

“We welcome that the Government has finally provided an update today on their progress, but it is incredibly disappointing that we still do not have a permanent appointment to this role.

“This Commissioner has never been more important, particularly following the Government’s disastrous deal with the Greens last week that seeks to have vapes sold by unwilling pharmacists.

“We know that pharmacists across the country are refusing to sell vapes under Labor’s new rules, which could push even more Australians towards the black market.

“It is clear that we need a tough cop on the beat to respond to the mess this government has made on vaping policy,” Senator Ruston said.

Shadow Minister for Home Affairs and Cyber Security, Senator James Paterson, said “This is just the latest example of weak leadership from the Albanese Labor Government on national security.

“Under Labor's watch, organised crime groups are acting with impunity as a war for control over the illegal tobacco and illegal vaping market has erupted on our streets, putting Australian

communities at risk. The appointment of an Illicit Tobacco and E-Cigarette Commissioner is desperately needed to address this activity, and the Government’s failure to act is inexcusable.”


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