Changes to federal laws that restrict where new pharmacies can be opened have forced Chemist Warehouse to shelve plans it had for outlets in Childers and Gin Gin.
Changes to federal laws that restrict where new pharmacies can be opened have forced Chemist Warehouse to shelve plans it had for outlets in Childers and Gin Gin. Scottie Simmonds

Red tape stalls chemist

CHEMIST Warehouse has been forced to shelve plans to open outlets in Gin Gin and Childers because of new federal legislation.

The Federal Government's Pharmacy Location Rules maintain that all new pharmacies must be at least 1.5km from an established chemist.

However, changes made to the legislation on October 18 state that any new pharmacy would also have to be within 500m of a 2500sq m shopping centre or a 1000sq m shopping centre plus a medical centre.

They are changes that Chemist Warehouse general manager Damien Gance says is making it impossible for many new stores to open.

"The rules say you have to be 1.5km from another pharmacy," he said.

"You have to open within 500m of a large supermarket or medical centre. These two conditions are almost impossible to meet.

"Under the new laws, 42 of our pharmacies never would have opened."

Mr Gance said the radius requirements were what caused the group to dump their Childers and Gin Gin plans.

He said even if a new chemist met the radius requirements set out in the new legislation, they were still bound by shopping and medical centres, who now need to sign statutory declarations to prove their existence before construction can go ahead.

But Mr Gance said there was no law in place to make shopping or medical complexes sign declarations if they didn't want to.

He said he believed the new rules would have a detrimental affect on towns smaller than Childers and Gin Gin without an established chemist because not all towns have medical centres or shopping complexes.

"Supermarkets only come where there is a large community," he said.

"We have had lots of plans for lots of stores but this has meant those plans will have to be shelved."

Childers Chamber of Commerce president John Russo said while the group encouraged new business enterprises, the town was well catered for by its chemist.

"We have a very, very good chemist which employs a lot of people," he said.

"I just don't know how we'd go with another chemist."

Mr Gance said all Chemist Warehouse stores were running a petition and he hoped members of the public would sign to have the legislation changes overturned.


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