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Big business pressures planning laws

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has found that supermarket giants Woolworths and Coles have been able to work state planning laws in their favour, preventing independent competitors from operating in the same location.

Contained in the ACCC’s report into grocery prices was the following: “The complexities of planning applications, and in particular the public consultation and objections processes, provide the opportunity for Coles and Woolworths to game the planning system to delay or prevent potential competitors entering local areas.”

The report went on to add that shopping centres often favoured major chains over independents and new entrants.

Developer representative Aaron Gadiel from The Urban Taskforce said the report was confirmation that town planning laws were anti-competitive. “This is the ACCC saying there are serious limitations being imposed on grocery competition because of town planning laws and consumers are losing out.”

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