A STATE government-appointed advisory committee will decide whether a second German-based supermarket chain can open a store in Mornington.
Planning Minister Richard Wynne has told Mornington Peninsula Shire that he will appoint a committee to “provide advice and recommendations” on plans by Kaufland to open six supermarkets around Melbourne.
Mr Wynne’s move to help Kaufland progress through the planning process has angered Mornington Peninsula Shire mayor Cr Bryan Payne.
Cr Payne said the advisory panel was “another example of Mr Wynne impinging on the responsibility of local government”.
He said it ranked alongside three-storey building heights that were imposed on the shire “with no consultation”.
Cr Payne said it was obvious Mr Wynne knew before the shire about the plan for a Kaufland supermarket.
He said taking planning decisions away from the shire “takes no account of the neighbourhood or environment”.
“Usually ministers are asked to intervene when something goes wrong.” Cr Payne said.
“We’re going to jump up and down about it. It’s an insult to local government and we’ve been bypassed once again.”
He said too many decisions made at the state level “might be applicable for inner [metropolitan] councils, but those rules don’t always apply here”.
“They’re chipping away at our planning scheme.”
The stores are planned for Mornington, Dandenong, Epping, Oakleigh South (including Kaufland Australia’s national headquarters), Coolaroo and Chirnside Park.
The company wants to build its Mornington store at the corner of Nepean Highway and Oakbank Road, in front of the Bata shoe factory.
The land is used as a site for the annual visit by Silver’s Circus and was originally designed to present a pleasant entrance to the town in the forward development plan adopted in the 1970s by the then Shire of Mornington.
If given the go ahead, the Kaufland supermarket would compete with Mornington’s existing Coles, Woolworths and Aldi stores.
Woolworths and Aldi each have two supermarkets in the town and Coles has announced a second store at the former Masters Home Improvement store (operated by Woolworths) site in Mornington-Tyabb Road.
Kaufland’s “hypermarkets” have been described as being a cross between supermarkets and Kmart.
In a letter to the mayor Cr Bryan Payne, Mr Wynne said Kaufland’s consultants “have proposed an amendment to each relevant planning scheme in accordance with a site-specific control”.
Mr Wynne said the incorporated document “is proposed to be included in the [planning schemes]”.
“The Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP) will work with Planning Panels Victoria to determine timeframes for exhibition and public hearing, and the location,” Mr Wynne stated in his letter.
Mr Wynne said an advisory committee “will provide a consistent, timely and transparent process for assessing the planning merits of each of the proposed stores”.
Kaufland specifies that its sites are 10,000 and 20,000 square metres with the potential for 200 to 300 car spaces. The company is understood to have already bought several former Bunnings sites.
Kaufland was asked to comment but did not respond in time for deadline.