- Salisbury Council and the Department of Planning
SHOULD 2 SMALL GROCERS BE ABLE TO SHUT “FARMERS MARKETS”?
Have a walk around the markets here; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sMiMEEVZrXk
Farm direct has been operating now in the Salisbury area for nearly 3 years, with an excellent track record for providing quality fresh produce at affordable prices. As part of our expansion and upgrades, we relocated “Farm Direct” community markets from Parafield to Salisbury, bringing with us 60% of our original stall holders and many new Farmers and producers that were in need of our support. The only major change that came with the move was our support of more farmers than wholesale agents.
Farm Direct supports around 100 or more of South Australia’s smaller growers and producers through wholesale and Farm Direct stalls, and our continued growth is evidence in itself that the community love what we are doing.
Most of the custom we aim at attracting is from the big duopoly in the grocery industry, due to their lack of support for Australian farmers, especially the smaller family owned farms, but as with any retail enterprise we have had some effect on the smaller grocery stores, albeit of a minor nature.
2 Grocery stores in the Northern area have lodged official complaints, just in time to stall our Salisbury Markets final development consents, and having spoken to them both, their intention is to shut all of our markets and any others that dare compete.
Both lodged on the same day with the council, and the wording of their complaints is of a similar nature. Development planning is not about trade and commerce, it is about land use and traffic management, yet both complaints are based on their perceived drop in trade on the day we operate.
Comments in their applications include “My turn over on a Saturday is down 10 to 15%” and “Farm Direct markets do not pay taxes, wages or comply with local legislation” so let’s consider these issues.
Farm Direct is a registered business with rent, tax, insurances and wages to pay, each of our stall holders are registered small businesses or farms, each has to have correct insurances, ABN’s, and council food certificates, they all have mortgages, wages, utilities, and families to feed, in fact all markets operating (other than one) in South Australia operate in the same professional manner.
Farm Direct, was born to support our farmers and producers, to keep them on the land, and to keep our nation self-sufficient in fresh food production, and we believe in letting the customer chose where they shop and what they buy. It is interesting to note that both of these grocery stores rely on buying their produce from our farmers, although each store also on sells imported product, something Farm Direct does not allow.
The big question is this, do you as a customer want to see trade restricted by these grocery stores, or should they be forced to compete, like every small business has to?
Farm Direct was not formed to undermine local grocers; it was formed to support the Australian primary production industry, an industry the grocers also rely on, so it is our argument that the grocers are taking a very short sighted approach. Farm directs one day of trade does not make us their largest competitor in any respect.
When speaking to the owner of the “Food Bowl” of 50 Johns street in Salisbury, he stated “I have plenty of money to fight both local markets, if I have to spend $100,000 and still lose, that is not a problem to me” the owner so George and Ben’s Fresh Food Market, a small grocery store in Pooraka, has refused to even have a chat, but also wants all markets closed except the ones he deals with, being Gepps Cross and Pooraka.
Farm Direct has traded in the area for nearly 3 years, and our re-location put us 5 klm’s further away from George and Bens, so it is interesting these complaints have never been lodged in the past and were only lodged since Gepps Cross management opened a new unregistered market on our old site.
Farm Direct will front the courts and present our case, until then we will continue to trade and let the customers vote with their wallets, as has always been the case in a free market.
Salisbury Council have certain powers under the development Act, and should not hold up Planning consent based on issues unrelated to representations that bring up issues outside of Development law.
“Founder” of Farm Direct community Markets.
We the Undersigned, call on the City of Salisbury to use their discretionary powers to ignore "Statements of Representation" that undermine the council's ability to finalise consents for Farm Direct community Markets Salisbury.
We believe the representations are outside of the scope of development planning legislation and are of an anti competitive nature, restricting local consumer free choice.
We the people of the Salisbury and its surrounding areas demand the right to choose where we shop and who we support.
The Support Farm Direct Community markets in SA petition to Salisbury Council and the Department of Planning was written by Mark M Aldridge and is in the category Business at GoPetition.