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THE NSW Planning
Kelly, said the laws
would prevent the
likes of Coles and
Woolworths from using planning
laws to stymie competition within
The planned changes to the State
Environmental Planning Policy will
stipulate that the loss of trade for an
existing business is not "normally"
a relevant planning consideration.
It will also override council limits on
the number of particular types of
stores in a given area.
While property developers
welcomed the changes, smaller
retailers said deregulation could
crowd out smaller players.
Mark Crutcher, from IGA
NSW, welcomed the removal of
barriers to competition, but was
concerned about "unintended
consequences" leading to major
chains increasing market share.
He said the inclusion of a
competition test could ensure this
did not happen.
The announcement follows
recent approval of the US retailer
Costco's $60 million warehouse
in Auburn, and should make it
easier for similar stores to expand
Councils are concerned the
changes will lead to new retail
development away from commercial
centres. The president of the Local
Government Association, Genia
McCaffery, said they were not
consulted on the changes, which
she said would undermine councils'
strategic planning objectives
to keep retail areas focused on
commercial centres with public
Her concerns were echoed
by Stephen Albin, from the
Urban Development Institute
of Australia, who said: "It
is important that this policy
is applied in a way that is
complementary to existing and
planned centres, not one that
promotes out-of-centre activity."
The opposition planning
spokesman, Brad Hazzard,
welcomed increased competition
but said "the devil's still in the
detail which is yet to be released".
Communities which might be
expected to welcome lower
prices have often fought against
the opening of supermarkets,
concerned about the detrimental
effect on local shops. The City of
Sydney recently granted approval
for Woolworths to open a store
in Erskineville despite strong
objections by residents, while
residents in Mullumbimby have
also fought a long battle against a
The Shopping Centre Council
of Australia, which represents
Westfield, Mirvac, Lend Lease
and other big retailers, welcomed
the changes. "For too long
shopping centre owners have
been limited in where they can
develop," its spokesman, Milton
The developer lobby group
Urban Taskforce, which pushed
for the reforms, said they did
not go far enough to promote
competition. Large retailers
wishing to open outside town
centres could still be blocked
purely on the grounds they would
siphon trade from existing shops.
--- Sydney Morning Herald
Suburban shopping strips could
be pushed closer to extinction
under changes to planning laws
designed to increase competition
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