Wholesaler fury at rent rises
Trish Skinner faces a rent rise of $50,000/ Picture: Dione Davidson/The West Australian

Fruit and vegetable wholesalers say “massive” rent increases on leases at State-owned Market City in Canning Vale will inevitably mean extra costs for the consumer or lower prices for growers.

Chamber of Fruit and Vegetable Industries chief executive Martin Clark said Market City wholesalers were angered by the size of increases and other changes Perth Market Authority was proposing.

“Some of the clauses are very one-sided and will put our businesses in jeopardy,” he said.

Mr Clark said there was much opposition to a bond, equal to three months rent, the authority said it would impose.

Glenn Mews, of Mr Mushroom, said he was angry that his new lease would mean paying a bond — “after 21 years of paying rent on time and three months in advance”.

Chamber president Trish Skinner, of Australian Produce Brokers, a specialist potato and onion wholesaler, said she had first been told her rent was going up 52 per cent.
Although the figure was later reduced, she said she still faced a rent increase of about $50,000 a year.

She said that would mean passing on higher costs to growers orretailers, and encouraging her to look at moving some of her business outside Market City.

A recent meeting involving the authority chief executive Stephen Ward, its chairman David Thomas and some tenants was unable to ease tenants’ concerns.

Mr Ward said the authority had adopted independently assessed market rates for tenants, using the lower of two valuations, to end the discrepancy in rents tenants paid.

Tenants paid between $84/sqm and $140/sqm and the aim was to have rents of between $93/sqm and $135/sqm, he said.

Wholesalers make up only a portion of the 120 or so tenants at Market City.

Mr Ward said if the changes meant rent rises of more than $5000, the increase would be capped instead to 8.5 per cent a year.

He said the authority had given tenants electricity tariff discounts and spent millions on capital investment.

“The tenants will be better off, as opposed to worse off,” he said.

The West Australian

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