Shopping centre cheifs probe issues

LEASE legislation, trading hours and retailer relations were nominated as the major challenges facing the shopping centre industry at a conference in Sydney recently.

Fifty industry leaders discussed these issues at the Shopping Centre Council of Australia’s chiefs of industry conference.

In the next 12 months, shopping centres face several States reviewing lease legislation, continuing resistance to deregulation of trading hours and improving retailer relationships.

The meeting resolved that convincing Queensland, South Australia, WA and Tasmania to allow shops to open on Sundays was the Shopping Centre Council’s number one priority.

Lease legislation was also shaping up as a major battleground in Victoria and the ACT. Shopping centre owners were also paying much more attention to retailer relationships, one central theme emerging was the importance of communications between centre management and retailers and the need retailers have to be recognised for their effort and expertise. In an attempt to reduce litigation between the parties, the meeting agreed to set up a Shopping Centre Mediation Service.

The Ralph business tax reform also remained a major issue, particularly plans by Treasury to keep Property Trusts out of the Collective Investment Vehicle regime.

l Joe Lenzo is WA executive director of the Property Council of Australia.

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