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Airport threatens cosy retailing monopolies – Can you hear the screams?

By johnboy - 3 August 2005 23

The Canberra Times brings news of plans to develop a factory seconds outlet at the airport. Remember the Orange Grove imbroglio in Sydney?

The Shopping Centre Council of Australia, which represents the owners of Westfield Belconnen, Woden Plaza, the Canberra Centre and Tuggeranong Hyperdome, said the proposal by Canberra Airport had the potential to draw business away from existing retail areas and create an additional town centre which had never been planned.

And the ALP’s man on the spot had this to say:

“I’m not opposed to this type of retailing in the ACT; this is just the wrong place for it to go,” he said. “The ACT is soon to release a block of land in Fyshwick for exactly this type of development and having it at the airport it will be isolated from other retail areas, it’s simply poor planning.”

As usual Simon, you’re too slow. The airport isn’t a great location, but they’re planning to offer 85% lower rents. Something that can be afforded when the developer doesn’t have to jump through your arcane planning hoops and make “suitable donations” to the local ALP. Currently bus operators are able to organise day tours to factory outlets in Sydney, now there’s a great planning outcome!

What’s Your opinion?


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23 Responses to
Airport threatens cosy retailing monopolies – Can you hear the screams?
areaman 11:58 am 03 Aug 05

I think there’s a revised plan from the developer which has been submitted to ACTPLA, but I doubt it’s been approved as yet.

Smackbang 11:56 am 03 Aug 05

Has there been an outcome on the Giralang shops issue? I didn’t think it had been resolved.

areaman 11:52 am 03 Aug 05

How about any proof at all. To continue your metaphor if you have no evidence of failing to cut the deck, dealing from the bottom of the deck or from below the table and you walk away from the table muttering about cheating all that happens is that you look like a paranoid fool.

In regards to suburban shops I’d say the government is stuck between a rock and a hard place, either leave the spaces derelict or move residential in. That being said, from my understanding the most planning process (with, I believe, Giralang shops) ended with mixed use of shops on the bottom and housing above, a change from the initial plan of the developers for straight residential.

johnboy 11:43 am 03 Aug 05

The “plan” also includes suburban shops but Simon manages to tear that up pretty fast when the right developer comes calling.

And Areaman short of a royal commission what sort of evidence are you looking for? The ACT Government should act in such a way it is above suspicion.

It does not.

If a friend doesn’t cut the cards, deals from the bottom of the deck, or from below the table, then I don’t need to actually catch the cheating to know it’s time to walk away from the table.

Smackbang 11:38 am 03 Aug 05

I think I meant that ‘the existing malls might want to defend their “turf”‘, not their “turd”. Although I do think that my unwitting spelling mistake bears some humorous although unintended resonance!

Smackbang 11:37 am 03 Aug 05

Areaman and JB, I agree with you both – I am not really trying to defned our current planning policies or the decisions made by the authorities, but I think that the fact that one group (the airport) doesn’t have to go through them is unfair and unjustified, and has the potential to lead tosome really negative results. Sure the existing malls just wna tto defend their turd, they’re just acting out of self-interest and I acknowledge that. But I think there has to be some recognition that Canberra has been planned to have town centres and industrial areas, and the Airport isn’t either of those things.

areaman 11:34 am 03 Aug 05

My problem is that the Airport answers to no one but themselves (and the NCA, who don’t give a shit). It doesn’t matter if you agree with the local planning regime or not the fact is that it should be a local responsibility and currently the people of the ACT have no recourse for anything the airport wants to build.

Also these claims of corruption are always trotted out by RA posters, but no one has ever proved anything of the sort. Sure there are some donations to the ALP from builders, but no more than the Libs get, and there’s no evidence that it effects planning approvals.

johnboy 11:29 am 03 Aug 05

Well SB I suspect the truth is a bit more nuanced. But Mr. Corbell appears to be able to get projects through very fast when it suits him and tie them up indefinitely when it doesn’t.

And the process with which one gains that favour is, to the outsider, opaque.

But it’s no way to run a city.

Smackbang 11:17 am 03 Aug 05

So let me get this straight, according to you:
ACT Government requiring developers to go through a long planning process = bad (because it provides a disincentive for investment)
ACT Government quickly approving city west developments = bad (because it is *clear* evidence of political favours)
NCA ‘lack of red tape’ = good

It’s not called free enterprise, what it is called is a monopoly -the airport is the only enterprise that doesn’t have to undertake the processes that are part of planning approval, which, believe it or not, do have a purpose and are something we all derive some benefit from.

RandomGit 11:10 am 03 Aug 05

“change that for Canberra”, scuse my lack of location references.

RandomGit 11:09 am 03 Aug 05

The Homebush DFO didn’t offer me ANY discounts on products that I didn’t already see in the many malls I visited at the time. This was less than a year ago.

Apart from Pumpkin Patch, they all had exactly the same sale stock at exactly the same prices as the regular malls.

If the airport can change that, so much the better. No wonder the guvvies are trying to starve it by not running bus services to it.

kimba 10:58 am 03 Aug 05

I think what is happening out at the airport is good for Canberra. Every airport in every major city in Australia and around the world has a strong commercial base surrounding it.

It’s moronic to say that the airport is “sapping the life out of Civic”, look at the amount of cranes that are dominating the city skyline at the moment.

I recently visited the DFO seconds outlet at Homebush (note not based in Sydney city) and it was a great experience.

If Corbell and his lacklustre government stopped undermining developers with their red-tape and long time delays (unlike the NCA’s approach to the airport) there would be more investment in Canberra.

johnboy 9:56 am 03 Aug 05

SB, you’d have a point if planning laws in this country hadn’t become barely veiled code for “where’s my brown envelope”.

Thank god the airports are providing competition and forcing local governments to deliver real outcomes. Because they wouldn’t if no-one forced their hand.

Ralph 9:49 am 03 Aug 05

It’s called free enterprise.

Smackbang 9:40 am 03 Aug 05

The airport is a law unto itself. We can thank the Federal Government for selling off these assets with scant regard for local planning laws or development of communities.

That the airports are free to develop malls, offices and such like without even consulting local councils (or in this case, the ACT government) is a disgrace. We end up with the result that the Brindabella Business Park is sapping the life out of Civic as an office precinct, and is not serviced by public transport. But what do we care about such things, hey? As long as the rent is cheap, and the airport owners can make some more money.

In any case, unless the airport provides some slightly cheaper parking I can’t really see anyone wanting to spend a great deal of time shopping at a factory outlet.

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