‘Basic needs’: Fight to save Murgon Target heats up
THE fight to have Murgon’s Country Target store converted into a Kmart Hub has just begun, as South Burnett Regional Council compiles stacks of paper petitions, collected over the past month.
Since the shock announcement in May that 75 Target Stores would be closed down and 92 converted into Kmart outlets, South Burnett Regional Council and Cherbourg Aboriginal Shire Council joined forces to save the Murgon store from permanent closure.
“It is a huge gap for all of our region. People travel from Kingaroy, from Goomeri, from Cherbourg, from everywhere, to visit the Target Country,” South Burnett Councillor Kathy Duff said.
“And particularly for the Cherbourg community, it’s about getting bed sheets, and linen, and they’ve talked about ladies underwear. There’s nowhere in Murgon that you can even get underwear, or just some basic needs.
“So that’s why it’s really important to have that stock in our town.”
Having compiled the physical petitions over the weekend, which have been circulating at stores in Murgon, Kilkivan, Goomeri, Proston, and Wondai, the council is preparing to reach out to Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk and Wesfarmers once again.
The online petition alone collected 3553 signatures in total, with 2000 racing to show their support within the first two hours.
SBRC Mayor Brett Otto and Cherbourg Mayor Elvie Sandow have both written to the Premier and the Kmart Group, informing them of the petition.
Despite receiving a response from Target Managing Director Marina Joanou stating that the Murgon Store is “not suitable for conversion”, the council is determined to safe guard Murgon’s economy - whether that be a Kmart conversion or another department store.
“We’re just trying to show that if they did change their mind, there is a willingness in the community to really support that shop,” Cr Duff said.
“And I think it’s important to keep the interest going is to show other potential businesses or investors that, if you put something in that space, it is certainly going to be well supported.”
Cr Duff is also seeking answers as to why the store is being closed rather than converted.
“It’s certainly not the trading. From all sources, that shop has been a thriving business for a very long time,” she said.
“We think it’s because of the floor space. But if you look at the floor space, there’s plenty of room out the back to actually make it a bigger shop.
“If it’s just about floor space, I think that could be tweaked.”