BIG LOSSES: The Target Country-branded stores at Goonellabah and Casino are set to close early next year, following last year’s closure of the Tenterfield store. Photo: Jackie Munro
BIG LOSSES: The Target Country-branded stores at Goonellabah and Casino are set to close early next year, following last year’s closure of the Tenterfield store. Photo: Jackie Munro

‘Cruel’ timing for Target store closures

WITH last week's shock announcement over closures of a number of Target Country stores, Lismore MP Janelle Saffin is supporting calls for the government to intervene in potential job losses.

Last Friday parent company Wesfarmers announced plans to close underperforming Target Country stores, including Goonellabah, Murwillumbah and Casino in early 2021, while converting stores at Ocean Shores and Yamba to Kmart-branded outlets.

The company also closed Tenterfield's store last year.

Ms Saffin said it was "really mean" for Wesfarmers to decide to close up to 76 stores during the Covid-19 pandemic.

"The timing is so cruel for people to be told you're losing your job," she said.

"Our young people are losing their jobs at a time when we can't afford for people to lose their jobs."

Ms Saffin said she hopes Deputy Premier John Barilaro is talking to Wesfarmers and trying to help secure jobs for those who are set to become unemployed by the retail conglomerate's radical cost-cutting plan.

 

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Ms Saffin's call echoes Labor's Jobs spokeswoman and Deputy Leader Yasmin Catley's call for the Liberal and National State Government to outline a jobs plan for regional communities, women and young people - all of whom rely on the employment opportunities provided by major retailers.

"John Barilaro says he wants jobs in the regions, but they are evaporating before our eyes," Ms Catley said in a statement.

"The Covid-19 crisis has hit workers in every sector, so the loss of Target stores in many communities will be another huge blow to families and communities who depend on those jobs."

She said with regional communities already suffering from the impacts of a devastating bushfire season, this latest announcement will make a bad situation worse in many town centres like Casino, Armidale, Cooma, Nowra and Scone.

Ms Catley also called upon the State Government to sit down with Wesfarmers, which owns Target, Kmart, Officeworks and Bunnings to discuss options for those Target workers who would be displaced by the planned Target closures.

"The Berejiklian-Barilaro Government must sit down with Wesfarmers, and seek a jobs guarantee for those workers at stores being converted to Kmart," Ms Catley said.

"Then, workers in stores that will be closed altogether should be offered a job elsewhere in the conglomerate, such as at Bunnings or Officeworks."



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