Andrew Barr has announced he’s going to stop playing dollhouses with supermarkets in the ACT:
In its response the Government notes that there have been several important changes in the Territory’s supermarket sector since 2010, when the Government introduced the Supermarket Competition Policy Implementation Plan (SCPIP).
These changes include:
— The new ‘full-line’ supermarkets to be built in Dickson, Kingston, Casey and Amaroo, which will address the undersupply of such stores in Gungahlin and central Canberra;
— Supabarn’s creation of a new wholesaling operation, and the arrival of Costco in the ACT, both of which will see increased competition in the local grocery wholesaling market; and
— A shift in the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission’s approach to the supermarket sector. In particular, the ACCC has been undertaking vigorous work in regulating supermarket competition across Australia.
Further, as part of the implementation of the SCPIP a site in Chisholm has been sold to Aldi, and potential sites for new full-line supermarkets and the expansion of existing supermarkets have been considered during master planning work for Erindale, Kambah Village and Weston.
As a result of the changes to the local supermarket sector and the ACCC’s greater level of scrutiny, the ACT Government will reduce its level of direct intervention in the sector and withdraw the SCPIP.
While there will no longer be a direct role for the SCPIP, the ACT Government will continue to play an important role in shaping the Territory’s supermarket sector by ensuring that the Territory Plan and other planning activities provide appropriate support for local centres. In its response to the Inquiry, the ACT Government reaffirmed its commitment to maintaining a clearly defined hierarchy of shopping centres across Canberra.
Having achieved retailing nirvana Andrew now wants prospective new players to justify their proposed existence:
Further, proponents of new supermarket space will also be required in some circumstances to prepare a small business impact statement for similar businesses that are already trading in the same geographic market.
While no longer maintaining a formalised supermarket competition policy, the Government will continue to consider supporting proposals to boost competition. Should exceptional circumstances arise the government will retain its prerogative to sell land directly to particular supermarket operators.
It is important to note that the ACCC will continue to monitor and regulate the acquisitions of supermarkets and supermarket sites. And the ACT Government will continue to support the work of the ACCC to ensure the best outcomes for supermarket competition.