Wednesday 6 July 2016

A Lesson For QVM And Traders From The Federal Election

The big lesson from the federal election would appear to be that voters have become disenchanted with the major parties and are looking for alternatives even if it means supporting some of the extreme views of people like Hanson with their simple one line answers to major issues.

Looking for one line answers to complex issues is just as much a danger in our very own market renewal as it is in matters of national importance and there are other parallels to be drawn here. The protest vote in national politics (the rise of a variety of independents) is simply a population saying "We don't think you are looking after us. You haven't come to tell us your plans. We never see you. You don't seem to consider us." 

Is it possible for outsiders to understand the extreme pressures on market traders as they battle a retail revolution with a major renewal thrown in to the mix? Small business entrepreneurs are used to taking risks. That is the essence of the risk/reward equation. But it only works when the risk and reward are within reach and right now the reward seems further away. QVM management cannot be expected to guarantee traders futures although they can be expected to recognise the impact of  renewal and ease the way. This is a joint venture.

There is some suggestion that QVM are prepared to consider the difficulties that traders are facing. We understand that discussions with Victoria St. shops include joint responsibility for their temporary relocation while construction goes on. It is these one to one discussions that have the best chance of meeting the real needs of both parties.

Renewal is bringing with it lots of difficulties, but we all look forward to the end result of a market that is better placed to meet the needs of the next 100 years - short term pain for long term gain. The short term pain can also bring opportunity and the chance to try out new things. As we re-arrange things to accommodate renewal, we can consider changes to trading hours, how stalls are set-up and a myriad of other retailing components. Moving Fruit & Vegetables to M shed raises a whole new dynamic for the top end. Will proximity to the car park mean greater opportunities for F&V? Will L shed become the most desirable location for Specialty Traders who cater to the needs of locals?  There are opportunities here.

But we need to learn from the federal election. The sharing of information in this latest round of consultation at QVM has not been great. A single meeting with Trader Representatives last Thursday and a large dose of rumouring is simply not sufficient for such a critically important event as the first stage of implementation. QVM and the City need to devote resources to trader engagement and information sharing right now, and the closer we get to timely one-to-one information sharing the better. This is a joint venture.