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Simon moves to protect the little supermarkets

By johnboy - 19 March 2013 15

o'connor shops

In the dark of the night Simon Corbell has announced his plans to stop you buying from shops you’d otherwise choose to.

“The primary intention of this draft variation is to protect the interests of smaller independent supermarkets in the ACT retail industry,” Mr Corbell said.

“By restricting retail floor space to 1000m² in local centres the government is reinforcing the important role that local centres play in providing convenience retailing to their local communities.

“Currently supermarkets in local centres have no gross floor area (GFA) limits, but under DV 304, the display and selling area will be limited to 1000m².”

Draft Variation 304 (DV 304) provides further clarity about the space available to supermarket operators for their retail operations in local centres.

To allow greater flexibility for group centres to grow and develop, supermarkets and other shops selling food in the outer areas of group centres will be able to have a 1500m2 gross floor area (GFA), up from 300m2 allowed in group centres currently. At present these supermarkets are limited to the core areas of group centres.

Draft Variation 304 delivers on an ACT Government commitment announced in August 2012, to cap the gross floor area of local centre supermarkets.

Mr Corbell said the draft variation also proposed changes to the commercial zoning boundaries in some group centres to provide a more logical identification of the core and surrounding zones.

“We know that Canberrans like to support local businesses that are also located close to their homes for convenience, and DV 304 also contains provisions to allow for future growth and development,” he said.

UPDATE: The Draft Variation is now online.

What’s Your opinion?


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15 Responses to
Simon moves to protect the little supermarkets
breda 8:13 am 20 Mar 13

What is it with the ACT government and their goal of central planning of food supplies? It is as though they yearn for the post-war era of rationing.

FFS, nobody in the ACT is in danger of being unable to buy food within a few Ks of where they live and work because of sinister forces. What’s more, almost everyone has choices within that same radius.

Vibrant shopping precincts are not created by government planners. Civic is a sad example of what happens when they imagine that central planning and scads of our money is the way forward.

Simon, please take up bonsai or golf or something, and let things work out according to what people want to buy and where they want to go. On my last visit to Civic, with interstate guests, they politely asked me where all the people were in the desolate plazas. Your answer is to double down on the folly by closing yet another road.

Moscow mon amour.

The notion that the government should provide everyone with a handy corner shop at rock-bottom prices is just absurd.

JC 7:29 am 20 Mar 13

We all know that this is about protecting not the little guys, but the medium sized guys who run the Canberra independent supermarket system. The same guys though who are more than happy to sell out to the big guys if they can make a buck or two out of it.

In Dunlop there is a small Woolworths that goes to show what a crock this policy is. The land sat there for years and years for a supermarket development and no one brought it. Woolies did and have built a very good local supermarket, that is busier than any other comparable sized local I have seen in Canberra. This despite there being a slightly larger (and soon to be even bigger) Woolies at Charnwood (again refer to my opening para as this is one example of a sell out) and a larger again supermarket at Kippax. (oh again another sell out years ago)

bd84 10:36 pm 19 Mar 13

Another misguided attempt at promoting competition or saving the little guy.

The demise of the local centre is mostly the fault of their operators and the people looking for a wide range, choice and low prices. The local small supermarket does not offer much of what people want, other than the occasional convenience shop. Downright preventing mid-size supermarkets will effectively create 2 markets, and the small guy market will still lose when people go looking for range and cheap prices.

ACT Government intervention in the market isn’t helping and has only created oversupply, with Aldi now knocking back sites being offered because there’s no room in the market. Competition policy is a federal government responsibility, the council should focus on not stuffing up things they’re actually responsible for.

Gira2617 8:10 pm 19 Mar 13

When will they learn, you shouldn’t use the objectives of one policy to achieve the objectives of another. In this case using planning policy to control competition policy – it never works!

Hasn’t anyone learned the lessons from Giralang yet?

People will shop where they can buy a product that they want, is conveinent and they receive good service.

BTW – Giralang is still waiting for the outcome of the latest court case. Will the government have the guts to see the issue through to ensure local shops for Giralang? hmmm…..

screaming banshee 7:28 pm 19 Mar 13

Watson said :

magiccar9 said :

We always shop where we can get the best deal.

Speak for yourself. I happen to value convenience and good service more than price. I’d rather buy less close to home than buy 2 and get 1 free from the Woles/Coolies stores. I am willing to pay more for products in return for the privilege of being able to walk to them from home or easily park my car on my way home from work. I am also happy to pay for shorter queues and happy/ier staff serving me.

And I am happy for the government to do whatever it takes to allow me to have a choice. If I really need to go to Woolies or Coles, I don’t mind driving to one of the many nearby. I just would rather not have one on my doorstep and I like shopping at the small IGAs or Supabarns for my everyday groceries.

+1

gazket 5:42 pm 19 Mar 13

smells of the independent service station only sites to keep fuel prices down. Woolies and Coles only had to wait about 4 years till they finally took control of them and pushed out the competition.

If the ACCC had a brain and some balls we wouldn’t need laws like this.

There seems to be some kind of iced coffee milk supply problem at Woolies. All the normal brands are very low in stock or near the expiry date. They seem to be stacking the shelf with a new brand I suspect is owned by Woolworths.

PantsMan 5:06 pm 19 Mar 13

{face palm}

FarrerGirl 4:00 pm 19 Mar 13

We have ended up with the bizarre situation at Farrer shops of a family owned independent supermarket being bullied by a ‘independent’ IGA. So now we have two supermarkets selling similar items – although the fresh fruit and vege sections of both are sometimes like a Russian supermarket. A mere 2 minute drive from there is the Southlands complex with a multitude of independent ethnic supermarkets (and of course, Woolies). I must admit, for all the shopping options at my disposal, I would love a local Aldi – not very patriotic of me!

rosscoact 3:41 pm 19 Mar 13

magiccar9 said :

Why does the government constantly think they can control these types of things? This shouldn’t be up to them. The reason smaller shops are failing is because they can’t compete on a price level. Sure this isn’t very good for competition in the market, but we only have ourselves to blame. We always shop where we can get the best deal. Just the same as online shopping – will the government limit the number of shopping websites we can visit so we have to go to our local shops? I don’t think so!

Maybe it’s just me but I really want the government to GOVERN our territory – perhaps things like roads, healthcare, and schools….

I would have thought planning policy to get the right mix of amenity in local centres and prevent B-Doubles from driving down suburban residential streets is core government responsibility.

Supermarkets in local centres are supposed to service the needs of people in the locality. The fact that some of them are unviable (and some very viable) is about competency and adaptability of the operators.

However, allowing Woolworths to come in, buy up a local centre, put in a 3000m2 supermarket for the express purpose of saturating a market to drive out competition is really bad policy on so many different levels.

Watson 2:39 pm 19 Mar 13

magiccar9 said :

We always shop where we can get the best deal.

Speak for yourself. I happen to value convenience and good service more than price. I’d rather buy less close to home than buy 2 and get 1 free from the Woles/Coolies stores. I am willing to pay more for products in return for the privilege of being able to walk to them from home or easily park my car on my way home from work. I am also happy to pay for shorter queues and happy/ier staff serving me.

And I am happy for the government to do whatever it takes to allow me to have a choice. If I really need to go to Woolies or Coles, I don’t mind driving to one of the many nearby. I just would rather not have one on my doorstep and I like shopping at the small IGAs or Supabarns for my everyday groceries.

fromthecapital 2:11 pm 19 Mar 13

magiccar9 said :

Why does the government constantly think they can control these types of things? This shouldn’t be up to them. The reason smaller shops are failing is because they can’t compete on a price level. Sure this isn’t very good for competition in the market, but we only have ourselves to blame. We always shop where we can get the best deal. Just the same as online shopping – will the government limit the number of shopping websites we can visit so we have to go to our local shops? I don’t think so!

Maybe it’s just me but I really want the government to GOVERN our territory – perhaps things like roads, healthcare, and schools….

I live in south woden and I have 3 woolworths nearby. An aldi would be nice. It’d be good to get rid out of the predators.

tim_c 1:24 pm 19 Mar 13

We know that Canberrans like to support local businesses that are also located close to their homes for convenience

If that were really true, why does he believe there is a need for a variation?

magiccar9 12:55 pm 19 Mar 13

Why does the government constantly think they can control these types of things? This shouldn’t be up to them. The reason smaller shops are failing is because they can’t compete on a price level. Sure this isn’t very good for competition in the market, but we only have ourselves to blame. We always shop where we can get the best deal. Just the same as online shopping – will the government limit the number of shopping websites we can visit so we have to go to our local shops? I don’t think so!

Maybe it’s just me but I really want the government to GOVERN our territory – perhaps things like roads, healthcare, and schools….

Jivrashia 11:19 am 19 Mar 13

Promoting competition by curtailing the growth (in this case via GFA) of a business?

There’s a whiff of Socialism in there somewhere.

niftydog 10:11 am 19 Mar 13

Oh FFS, Simon. It’s a shame Giralang shops had to die before this came about.

I guess I should be happy that the government might actually have been listening to us, but it’s hard when you ride past a derelict vagrant hotel every day. Even worse when the best prospect for improvement is a 1,666 square metre Woolies!

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