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Westfield Chief Calls Rent Relief ‘Bad Policy’

Scentre chief executive Peter Allen has used the company’s results call to slam the commercial rent relief schemes implemented in NSW and Victoria as “bad policy.”

The schemes require landlords to allow rent relief for retailers with turnovers of up to $50 million – an amount Allen says is far too high.

“We continue to support SME retailers to mitigate the short-term cash flow impact on their businesses during the pandemic through appropriate rent deferral and support,” he said.

“We have a mutual interest in seeing them get through this tough period and succeed.

“Given this ongoing support we are very disappointed we are being mandated by the Victorian and now NSW governments to abate rent, transferring value directly from one industry to another and from our security holders to retailers shareholders.

“This is bad policy. The government should be providing support where warranted, it should be targeted to where the need is greatest, those SMEs with aggregate turnover of less than $5 million.

“Another major capital provider to these SME businesses, the banks, have not been mandated to forgive interest payments.”

Scentre collected $1.2 billion of rent during the first half of 2021, an increase of $325 million from the first half of 2020.

 

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