Masters decision deadline determined

A DECISION on the future of Masters in Kepnock could be made in less than a month after it was called in by the Queensland Government.

Speculation arose this week as to whether Masters itself would continue with a store in Bundaberg after Woolworths Limited announced a "refocused store roll out plan" with "fewer stores" this week. 

It came as the company advised that its financial losses for 2014 would exceed those in 2013 and would therefore not reach its goal of breaking even in 2016. 

Masters had anticipated to rollout 90 stores across Australia over the next two years, an increase from the current 49.  But that figure has now been scaled down with 10 to 15 per year for "the next few years". 

Despite the changes, a Masters spokeswoman yesterday told the NewsMail its plan for a Masters in Bundaberg had not changed. 

"Masters still remains committed to bringing a store to Bundaberg," she said. 

The spokeswoman reiterated the hold-up in the development progressing. 

"Our development application was called in by Jeff Seeney, Minister for State Development, Infrastructure and Planning," she said. 

"Once a decision is made, we will update the local community on our timelines." 

The confirmation for the Bundaberg store came despite Woolworths Limited announcing, as part of the changes, that Masters would focus on stores in "metro areas" and "selectively" fill gaps in the chain from there. 

The Bundaberg Regional Council gave its approval for the Bundaberg Masters development on January 24 this year. 

But after appeals were lodged in the Planning and Environment Court against the council decision, it asked for the State Government to call the development in. 

Mr Seeney did so on June 6 and yesterday told the NewsMail he was not working to a timeline. 

"I'm happy to take whatever time is necessary to properly consider Masters' development application," Mr Seeney said. 

But the councils Planning and Development spokesman Ross Sommerfeld yesterday told the NewsMail that was not the case. 

"I'm pretty sure the date's been put back to the 5th of September," Cr Sommerfeld said.   

Topics:  masters

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