LFRA: NSW Government planning reforms step in right direction

Home-hub-large-format-centreLarge Format Retail Association (LFRA) chief executive Philippa Kelly says NSW government’s plans to adopt planning reforms for large format retail are a step in the right direction, but don’t got far enough.

The LFRA said decision to reverse the inclusion of the words ‘or’ to the word ‘and’ in the government’s planning definition are a positive step, however remains frustrated on how large format retailers are allowed to operate on a variety of zoned land, despite being given the green light in Victoria.

“Significant changes in the retail sector have occurred over the past six years,” Kelly said.

“During this time, the LFRA has been advocating for the Victorian definition of ‘Restricted Retail Premises’ to replace the current NSW definition for Bulky Goods Premises.”

According to Kelly, since Victoria introduced the new definition along with the removal of a minimum floor space requirement and the allowance of the large format sector onto industrial land, there has been “enormous investment and employment” injected into the Victorian economy.

The Independent Retail Expert Advisory Committee Report released by the Minister for Planning includes several recommendations backed by the LFRA.

“It is the most encouraging sign in over 20 years by the NSW Government that we are heading in the right direction together,” Kelly said. “We are specifically excited that they have acknowledged the large amount of floor space our industry successfully occupies.”

LFRA stated the NSW Government plays a critical role when it comes to desired planning reforms in this state and the Association feels it desperately need to be addressed.

“Changing the definition would have created more jobs and investment into NSW,” Kelly said. “We feel up until now, we have been starved of opportunity and we are ready as an association to invest and to move forward.”

According to LFRA, which represents Large Format retailers, owners, investors, developers and service suppliers, its members need clarity on who is a large format retailer and what can they sell.

“They need consistency across all states believing this will in turn deliver certainty for all,” it said.

The association added barriers is also an issue. “Members want them removed so they can, open more more stores, employ more people and better serve the community by giving them greater accessibility.”

Large format retailers occupy 30 per cent of all retail floor space; nationally, sales in the sector are more than $67.7 billion per annum or more than 22 per cent of all retail sales, both directly and indirectly.

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