Govt uses special powers to approve Costco outlet
THE Queensland Government has used special powers to approve a $35 million Costco development north of Brisbane to create 350 retail jobs.
The government used its call-in authority to approve the development at North Lakes, which was facing a lengthy battle in the Planning and Environment Court after objections by Westfield.
The development had already been approved by the Moreton Bay Regional Council before a bid to thwart it by the operators of a neighbouring shopping complex.
Deputy Premier and Minister for State Development, Infrastructure and Planning Jeff Seeney said he had taken great care in arriving at his decision under the Sustainable Planning Act 2009.
"I did not rush this decision, and I took the time necessary to make sure I was making the right decision for the community and the state," Mr Seeney said.
Mr Seeney said the Government was committed to strengthening the Queensland economy and the approval of the Costco development would create several hundred new jobs.
The project is expected to create 160 construction jobs and 350 retail positions
"The development will provide new business opportunities in the north Brisbane-Moreton Bay regions and contribute to growing and stimulating the construction industry," he said.
"The application was previously approved by the Moreton Bay Regional Council, but was appealed by objectors in the Planning and Environment Court.
"I formed the view that this development contributes to the future economic well-being of Queensland, in particular the fast growing south-east region.
"We need to ensure that applications such as this do not get bogged down in protracted legal proceedings."
Mr Seeney said he had approved the development subject to conditions.
The Minister's decision cannot be appealed in the Planning and Environment Court.
The approval is expected to pave the way for other outlets by the US retail giant.
Costco is one of the is the world's largest retailer with more than 60 million cardholders at almost 600 locations in the United States, Canada, Mexico, England, Scotland, South Korea, Taiwan and Japan.
Everything about Costco is not just big, it's enormous.
Products such as groceries, clothes, outdoor furniture, appliances, office supplies, tyres, hardware, toys and jewellery come in a bulk so great that it's reportedly even too big for Australia's existing packaging suppliers.
The expansion of Costco is expected to challenge the dominance of Woolworths and Coles in the food market.
Costco managing director Patrick Noone told News Ltd the process involved in building its first Queensland store had been "long and arduous".
"We are looking at two or three more sites already as a follow-on," Mr Noone said.
Costco in Australia
19 Nov 2008 - Docklands warehouse construction starts. Costco Australia Managing Director, Patrick Noone, and ING Real Estate CEO, Greg Boyd, turned the first sods in a ceremony for the cameras.
13 Mar 2009 - In a joint announcement with Industry, Trade and Industrial Relations Minister Martin Pakula, Costco confirmed it is seeking 225 full time and part employees for its Docklands store.
17 Aug 2009 - Costco opens the first Australian location at Docklands.
21 Jul 2011 - Costco Australia expands nationally with the opening of a second location in Auburn, Sydney's West.
22 Jul 2011 - Costco opens the third Australian location at Canberra.