NSW Labor's Competition Policy will hurt small shopkeepers
Bellagio cafe Bronte Scott n Trent
“The Minister for Planning’s announcement is deplorable on any number of grounds,” said Ms Hale.
“It’s a prescription for the big chains and supermarkets to move into areas currently the preserve of ‘neighbourhood shops’.
“But neighbourhood shops are often what gives an area its character, and they certainly employ far more people per dollar of turnover than do the chains.
“The growth of supermarkets can reduce, rather than expand, job opportunities.
“Chains such as Coles and Woolworths, in the name of competition, will be able to drive out their smaller competitors and use their monopoly position to increase prices and drive down returns to small suppliers such as farmers.
“New South Wales is littered with main streets where local business have been sent to the wall in the aftermath of a shopping centre opening. Vibrant streets and localities have suffered and vacant or ‘$2 bargain’ shops have proliferated.
“Big shopping centres should be located near public transport hubs, to enable easier access for everyone, including those who don’t own cars, and to discourage road congestion. Their location can have a significant impact on communities.
“Councils need to be able to exercise discretion when considering planning applications. They have long been concerned that proliferation of some types of business in a specific area may be undesirable. Adult sex shops are a case in point. Their clustering together may result in the creation of de facto ‘red light’ areas.
“The Minister has said he will develop a ‘Competition SEPP’.
SEPPs are anti-democratic policy statements that cannot be challenged either by the community or in the parliament. They oblige councils and planners to abide by prescriptive policy considerations that may be antithetical to good planning outcomes.
“The open slather approach that the Minister is advocating is not what planning should be about.
“Good planning entails adopting policies that are adapted to the needs of local communities, rather than ensuring that the big end of town gets everything it wants,” said Ms Hale.
Source: NSW Greens