Harvey Norman Director Katie Page Lobbies Canberra
The wife of Harvey Norman Chairman Gerry Harvey is calling for deregulation and unfettered competition direct to policymakers.
She is joined by Woolworth’s chief executive Grant O’Brien and Bunnings boss John Gillam.
In the past Gerry Harvey has earned a reputation for complaining about GST, the state of the economy and Government regulation.
What the retailers fear is a crackdown by Canberra that could place a cap on their growth aspirations.
The Australian newspaper said that the atmosphere around the retail sector is politically charged at the moment because of recent high-?profile court cases launched by the competition regulator against both leading supermarket chains, Woolworths and Coles, as well as calls from some politicians and pressure groups to rein in what they view as Australia’s highly concentrated retail sector.
In the past Harvey Norman franchisees have been fined by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission for misleading consumers.
Harvey Norman Holdings has also been hit for deceptive conduct in relation to the full cash price of certain goods sold by Harvey Norman.
Harvey Norman CEO Katie Page is set to lobby Small Business Minister Bruce Billson, chairman of the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission, Rod Sims, and Professor Ian Harper, author of the recent Harper Review into competition.
Page will also meet with Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister and Liberal deregulation flag-bearer Josh Frydenberg, Treasury officials and Sue McCluskey, the boss of the ?Regional Australia Institute and a member of the Competition ?Policy Review Panel.
The Australian National Retailers Association, which represents the country’s biggest retailers, will also hold its board meeting in Canberra today.
Woolworths boss Mr O’Brien is the new chairman of ANRA, and the group’s other directors include Mr Gillam, Ms Page, the CEO of up-market department store David Jones, Ian Nairn, and Peter Birtles, CEO of the Super Retail Group – owner of the ?Supercheap Auto, Rebel Sport and BCF brands.
US supermarket group Costco, which is investing millions of ?dollars into rolling out its warehouse-style stores in Australia, will also have an executive at the closed-door meetings.