To CLOSE OR NOT TO CLOSE?: Mayor Brett Otto and Councillor Kathy Duff will be joining the discussion this evening and working with the Murgon Business and Development Association Incorporated to do everything they can to save the Murgon Target store from closing. Source: Facebook.
To CLOSE OR NOT TO CLOSE?: Mayor Brett Otto and Councillor Kathy Duff will be joining the discussion this evening and working with the Murgon Business and Development Association Incorporated to do everything they can to save the Murgon Target store from closing. Source: Facebook.

Community meets to discuss future of Murgon Target

IN AN exclusive interview with Mayor Brett Otto the Times can reveal Mayor Otto and Councillor Kathy Duff are currently in the process of negotiating the future of the Murgon Target with the Wesfarmers group.

Hundred of South Burnett shoppers were left stunned by the announcement to close Murgon's Target store come early to mid 2021.

The Murgon Business and Development Association Incorporated (MBDA) will be gathering this evening to discuss the decision made late last week by Wesfarmers.

The Murgon store will be among 167 Target stores across Australia earmarked to close within 12 months.

In a note to investors released on May 22, parent company Wesfarmers revealed that up to 75 large format Target stores and Target Country stores could permanently shut, while up to 92 large format Target stores and Target Country stores could be converted into Kmart branches.

A social media post on the Murgon community Facebook page said Cr Kathy Duff and Mayor Brett Otto working closely with MBDA to do everything they can to save the store from closing.

Mayor Brett Otto and Councillor Kathy Duff will be joining the discussion this evening and working with the Murgon Business and Development Association Incorporated to do everything they can to save the Murgon Target store from closing. Source: Facebook.
Mayor Brett Otto and Councillor Kathy Duff will be joining the discussion this evening and working with the Murgon Business and Development Association Incorporated to do everything they can to save the Murgon Target store from closing. Source: Facebook.

Mayor Brett Otto and Councillor Kathy Duff will be joining the discussion this evening and working with the Murgon Business and Development Association Incorporated to do everything they can to save the Murgon Target store from closing. Source: Facebook.

Mayor Brett Otto and Councillor Kathy Duff will be joining the discussion this evening and working with the Murgon Business and Development Association Incorporated to do everything they can to save the Murgon Target store from closing. Source: Facebook.

"I am intimately aware of the importance of this store to the people of Murgon, Cherbourg, Wondai and all of the surrounding farming districts," Mayor Otto said.

"It is the sole supplier of various items, a vital business in keeping people shopping locally and provides 10 local jobs.

 

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"Rest assured that I will be supporting Cr Duff in doing whatever we can on this matter. I will be calling the Kmart Group first thing Monday morning to discuss any possible options for the Murgon store and, with Kathy, will keep the community informed.

"We are also working hard on other options for job creation in the local area and will keep everyone informed on our progress as we are able to do so."

A number of residents commented on the Facebook post suggesting the store be turned into a community lead co-operative store, while others were hopeful the store could remain open as a Target or a Kmart.

"I can confirm Cr Duff will be attending this evening's MBDA meeting as a representative of council," Mayor Otto said.

"We're both hoping we can get the MBDA's support to lobby against the Wesfarmers Kmart group and convince them to rebrand the Murgon Target Country store into a smaller Kmart department store of "hub" as is planned for Goondiwindi and Chinchilla.

"I have been in contact with both Kmart and the Premier's office this morning to discuss the matter and we're still in the process of confirming why the Murgon Target was chosen as a store to close completely and not to be rebranded into a smaller Kmart store."

Mayor Otto said there hasn't been any clear information received from Wesfarmers at this stage, but they are hoping to attain more facts around the issue shortly.

"Murgon has a high proportion of elderly, unemployed and indigenous Australians who are all limited with how far they can travel and they all rely heavily on this store to purchase necessity items such as linen, underwear, shoes and kitchenware.

"And perhaps most importantly, by keeping an affordable department store in Murgon it will mean we can keep our dollars in the community.

"Having locals leave the area to shop in other towns creates a ripple effect as people start shopping out of town more and more, it takes away much needed dollars from the South Burnett.

Mayor Otto said he and Cr Duff were working hard to ensure the town of Murgon is not neglected.

"Right now Cr Duff and I are working very hard to negotiate with Wesfarmers and the Kmart group, we don't want to see this invaluable store close its doors when this community need it the most."

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