After further postponing their decision on Woolworths’ proposed purchase of the Hawker IGA, the ACCC commissioned Roy Morgan to conduct a shoppers’ survey by telephone and on-site at the Hawker shops. The ACCC has now announced that their decision on whether the purchase would be anti-competitive will be released on 4 July – Independence Day (USA). Is this significant?
On 5 March 2013, Friends of Hawker Village became an incorporated association. This provides certain rights as well as additional responsibilities. The interim constitution of the association contains objectives that cover developments in any of the four suburbs of the Hawker Village catchment area, i.e. Hawker, Page, Scullin and Weetangera. Details of development applications for these suburbs will be placed on the DA’s page of this website to assist residents understand what is happening in their neighbourhood.
After examining submissions made to its enquiry into the competition effects of the possible takeover of the Hawker IGA by Woolworths, the ACCC has released a Statement of Issues. This provides an opportunity for all interested parties (including customers, competitors, shareholders and other stakeholders) to ascertain and consider the primary issues identified by the ACCC. It is also intended to provide the merger parties and other interested parties with the basis for making further submissions should they consider it necessary. The ACCC considers that the proposed acquisition might have the effect of substantially lessening, preventing or hindering competition in the local market by removing Hawker Supa IGA as an independent rival in the market but will not make a final decision until 7 February 2013. A supplementary submission was lodged to address the issues raised. At the request of Woolworths, on 18 January, an extension of time was granted for further submission. The date for the ACCC’s final decision was eventually changed to 23 May 2013.
The PRG was presented with several reports compiled by LDA consultants. The parking consultant explained to the PRG that a recorder walked around the centre every half hour counting empty parking spaces. This meant that the parking study did not show whether or for how long spaces were used in each half hour. FoHV had hoped that the parking study would provide statistics on the behaviour of people using the car parks. For this reason, FoHV requested a shoppers survey to ascertain usage. LDA agreed and decided to also conduct another phone survey (one was conducted in August 2010). Again, FoHV were disappointed in that, rather than asking specific questions, general questions were asked that could have several responses. Once again, the importance of readily-available parking at Hawker was not shown.
A major result was achieved on 23 November 2010 when representatives of FoHV met with the then Chief Minister, Jon Stanhope. He was accompanied by David Dawes, head of the Land Development Agency (which is responsible for selling ACT-owned land). FoHV expressed a concern that the infill process at Hawker appeared rather ad hoc and that a master plan for the suburb might bring some cohesion to the process and assuage community concerns. The Chief Minister assented to this idea and proposed that the master planning be advised by a Project Reference Group comprising relevant parties, including FoHV (see Chief Minister’s Press Release 2 Dec 2010 and the Hawker video). FoHV were encouraged by this concession as it provided the opportunity for community concerns to be discussed and considered in the context of the Government’s infill policy. The only disappointment was that the master plan would cover just the Hawker Centre and not the whole suburb.
The residents’ group, now named the Friends of Hawker Village (FoHV), held a public meeting at the Belconnen Soccer Club on 14 July 201o to discuss the development proposal. Despite little publicity, over 100 people attended. Some supported the ACT Government’s plan to sell the two car parks but the overwhelming majority did not. Representatives of FoHV, in July, visited several local members of the ACT Legislative Assembly to highlight community concerns – Mary Porter (Labor), Meredith Hunter and Caroline Le Couteur (Greens) and Alistair Coe (Liberal), in that order (see Brief for MLAs). Following this, FoHV compiled and had printed a brochure explaining its purpose. This brochure was hand-delivered in September to nearly all households in the four suburbs regarded as the catchment for the Hawker Centre – Page, Scullin, Hawker and Weetangera. It also established a website and issued e-newsletters to those on its supporter list.