Coles’ Ian McLeod aims to “cut” red tape


Coles boss Ian McLeod has called for the Productivity Commission to review obstructive red tape procedures that stifle growth and job creation processes.

Image credit: Free Digital Photos user Ambro
Image credit: Free Digital Photos user Ambro

According to an article on the Sydney Morning Herald, Mr. McLeod, who spoke at a business lunch on Friday, has pinpointed the Productivity Commission as the most suited organization to assess and rectify the difficulties that stifle private business ventures.

“Whether those recommendations get taken up is a matter for government but I think their analysis in this area would definitely be a benefit. Every businessman I talk to, regardless of what industry they are in, tends to talk about the level of and burden of regulation that they have to encounter or endure.”

Mr. McLeod offered his own negative experience to back his claims. He said that it took his company four years to go through all the planning and council details to finally open the Coles supermarket in the Melbourne beachside suburb of Brighton.

“And Victoria is one of better states for [planning] submissions,” Mr. McLeod added.

According to him, for every piece of regulation removed, more than 200 new regulations are introduced.

Mr. McLeod then welcomed the Federal Government’s proclaimed initiative to trim red tape procedures and said that even though the food and supermarket sector is the most affected by lengthy regulation processes, any inquiry by the Productivity Commission should look to cut down bureaucratic procedures on every level.

“Obviously there is a degree of self-interest in it but if you look at food manufacturing and you look at the challenges that it faces and you look at retail as well, then your ability to move quickly is thwarted by the red tape.”

According to the results of Coles’ first cost-of-living report, consumers are most worried about the rising cost of utility bills. This has proved to be beneficial for supermarkets, as people don’t eat out as much as they did before, said Mr. McLeod.

The report also reveals that fresh herb sales have risen for more than 21% compared with the sales from two years ago, with fresh chilly sale up by 34% and spices sale by almost 10%.