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Food Trucks

Radio Broadcast

Keith Parks, Mayor of Alexandrina Council (5AA 10.08-10.18) Food trucks

(Byner: Do you remember when Jay Weatherill was Premier one of the things that he pushed – and it was Chris Picton, his Minister, that pushed this – was the ability for food trucks to set up around various areas because it was his view that it was all too restrictive so we changed the law and now you’ve got councils pushing for the legislation that loosened these restrictions on food trucks to be either amended or repealed altogether. Now the Local Government Association of South Australia has been asked by its regional councils to look at lobbying the State Government to alter these rules or get rid of them because what happened was, since March 1, councils’ powers to refuse permit applications have been removed, meaning that food trucks can train in the designated location… although they’ve got to be 25m away from established venues. Now you can imagine that the full tote odd businesses who have bricks and mortar, that pay rent and all sorts of other costs which don’t ever change, are at a distinct advantage when they’re operating but if you put a food truck near them, they’re in big trouble because somebody’s going to pinch their trade… Keith Parks…) The main concern is that the legislation enforces that we have no option but to allow food trucks in those spots as you mentioned. What we’re saying is it should be discretionary, it should be at the discretion of the local council to decide whether or not they wish to allow food trucks to operate and of what areas they are. Having said that, we support mobile food trucks coming into our region, as others do, for events and things like that where they’re supporting local activities where small businesses that are here all the time simply can’t cope with the volume but on a day to day basis if you look at an area like ours … we’re busy for three months of the year over that Christmas period when it’s great but in winter… the visitation drops right off. A lot of our permanent residents go away up north … and so our small businesses that do this catering and supply all these things really struggle this time of year and they need that busy three month period to sustain and be able to keep employing. We’ve got young people that work on a full time or part time business basis in these businesses on weekends and during the holiday period, we need to keep some stability there so if you start allowing somebody to come in, pull up down the road and compete with them without having to go through all the hard times, it means that these small businesses – they’ll collapse. (Byner: Stay on the line.)

Tony Piccolo, Shadow Local Government Spokesperson (5AA 10.11-10.14) Food trucks

(Byner: …Tony Piccolo… are you sympathetic to what you’ve heard?) The bill was a regulation when it was introduced and only came into effect in March this year, did try to achieve a balance between what you might call brick and mortar businesses and the mobile food vendors and that’s why the Council’s retained the power to identify the areas where they can occur and also there’s a whole range of other restrictions which they have to meet so I think it’s trying to achieve a balance, with trying to maintain some competition in the market and get an opportunity for young people to enter business and the food truck is a small business, trying to give those people an opportunity to actually create their own job and we did that knowing that we need to balance against those people who have existing shops so I’m just a bit concerned it might be early days to work out what the impact may be but the regulations are very clear, councils have the right to take into account the impact that a food truck may have on existing businesses and a whole range of other criteria as well.

Back to Keith Parks

(Byner: What do you say Keith?) Well we don’t have the right to say no we don’t want one, we are forced to have them and by the time we run the experiment and let food trucks into the area, the small businesses that we want to protect, they’ll be gone so it will be too late, we’ve seen what happens just even when we get the odd one comes down now in different areas and it has a severe impact, it’s something that again we’re not saying we do not believe in mobile food trucks, we just think there’s a place and a time for them to be in our region. They don’t pay rates, they don’t pay any taxes or they don’t support any infrastructure. The money that they earn goes out of the region, they don’t spend money in the region, it’s just taking everything away and putting nothing back in except for a minimal fee to be able to use that site.

Back to Tony Piccolo

(Byner: What do you say Tony?) Well I think hopefully there would be people in that council where they have got food trucks as well and work locally as well. To suggest that it would only be people from out of town may not be correct. One would help that the councils actually encouraging small businesses in their region to promote them and [unclear] move around the state [unclear] But I think one of the things we need to remember is that councils do have the power to determine the location - (Byner: Well there seems to be a point of difference here. Keith you’re saying they can’t and Tony’s saying you can. Who’s right?)

Back to Keith Parks

Under the legislation we can determine the site that a food – under legislation if we determine a site and the food vendor decides they’re not happy with that they can appeal to the Commissioner of Small Business and to get [unclear] against that or get that overturned, we’re not – what we’re not saying is that our position is not that we are not prepared to allocate sites, our position is that we are being told by the State Government you have got to provide these sites. Not, we would like you to and you have a discretion whether you do or not and you put them where you like, we’re just being told you’ve got to do it and you’ve got to have a certain amount and what distance they’ve got to be from the existing business and times are tough everywhere and I can tell you our small businesses down here, they’re struggling but they hang in there all the year round, you go down to Robe… during this time of year and you’ll go half the cafes are shut, the people pack up and go away on holidays it’s so quiet.

John Darley, Advance SA MLC (5AA 10.15-10.17) Food trucks

(Byner: John Darley’s called in…) The situation is this: council, according to the Act, have to prepare a location plan where trucks, food trucks, can operate. Now having done that if the food truck decides to set up in one of those locations and the bricks and mortar people are not happy with it, they can apply to the Small Business Commissioner who will listen to their argument and then decide if it’s going to impact on their business, it won’t be allowed, that’s what happens. (Byner: …Why put a bricks and mortar business into that position where they’ve got to have red tape if they’re worried that somebody will pinch their business a few metres away…) The intention was to, as Tony said, to allow young people who want to start up in business start up with a food truck - (Byner: That’s fine but you wouldn't do it at the expense of people already established would you-) Exactly. (Byner: Because if you do that the people working at the bricks and mortar establishment might lose hours. So that’s not very smart.) It was my amendment that said if after the council prepares a location plan where they would consider food trucks, if the small – if any small business is not happy with that and it’s going to impact on their business, we injected the provision in there they could go to the Small Business Commissioner, explain their case and then the Small Business Commissioner would consider that and if he agreed with that the food truck wouldn't be allowed to operate there. One of the – we had a situation not long ago in the Onkaparinga Council where they issued a permit to – and I can’t think what it was –but they set up on the foreshore, now that’s not covered by the legislation and that was in direct competition with the bricks and mortar businesses and that’s a situation that should be fixed. (Byner: So is the legislation allowing that to happen is it?) Yeah, because it didn’t cover - (Byner: Every time Governments touch this stuff they stuff it up, they really do. So John you’re normally the thinker outside the square, you didn’t think of this, because you passed this.) Yeah because you know council-owned property wasn’t considered. What was considered, the normal situation was the food trucks would set up on a street or a road in opposition to bricks and mortar business and I was totally opposed to that, particularly if it was going to impact on the bricks and mortar business because I think as Keith said you know these people are paying rates and taxes etc and so why should they – why should food trucks get away with paying a pittance and then destroy a business.

Back to Keith Parks

(Byner: …So Keith Parks you’d like the Government to reconsider this whole thing.) We’d just like to give us a discretion, whether we have them and we can choose the sites now but we want the discretion as to whether we actually choose any sites or not and when we allow food vans into the area, not just to pick the ripe cherries off the tree, we want them to come here when it suits the area so it’s a benefit to the area and it’s a benefit to them so if we encourage a food van to come into our region when we’ve got events on, that’s going to – two things, going to support that event, support the region and it’s going to be viable for them and it won’t affect small business. You come here in the time when events aren’t on and the businesses are just surviving doing their bit like they normally do, as I said they employ young people, we’re trying to keep young people back in this region, we don’t want them to be forced out of their area where they’ve been brought up to get a job and so we just want to protect our businesses but we are not saying we do not believe in mobile food vans, we’re just saying we want the must have mobile food vans taken out of the Act and the discretion put back into it. (Byner: …All right…)