Petition by pharmacy

CHEMIST Warehouse will take a petition against legislation forcing it to shelve its plans for new stores in Gin Gin and Childers to the Federal Government.

The company has claimed changes to Pharmacy Location Rules are obstructive to commercial development and will limit consumers' access to affordable health care services.

Chemist Warehouse group commercial director Damien Gance said the legislation had disadvantaged residents of rural areas.

"We honestly believe that by providing affordable healthcare we are assisting in the maintenance of the health of the Australian population," he said.

Plans for new franchises in Childers and Gin Gin were dropped in the wake of the legislative shift on September 17.

Existing legislation states new pharmacies must be at least 1.5km from an established chemist.

The legislative changes dictate new pharmacies must also be within 500m of a 2500sq m shopping centre or a 1000 sq m shopping centre and a medical centre.

Chemist Warehouse had plans for 40 new stores that have been directly affected.

Chemist Warehouse Bundaberg, Maryborough and Hervey Bay partner Matt Hughes said consumers were disadvantaged in one-pharmacy towns.

"We would argue that people are being disadvantaged in price and service," he said.

Childers Chamber of Commerce has spoken out in opposition of the legislation, while Gin Gin Chamber of Commerce has raised concerns as to whether the town would have been able to support another chemist.

Gin Gin Chamber of Commerce secretary Greg Collier said the town was well catered for by the existing pharmacist.

"I don't think the town's big enough for two fully fledged chemists," he said.

"I hate to see any restrictions placed upon business but, in this circumstance, I don't think another pharmacy would have been right for the town."



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