Charleville IGA closure raises accessibility and supply concerns

The closure of one of the two grocery stores in Charleville, a remote town in south-west Queensland, has become a topic of concern for the town’s 3,500 locals. Cornetts Supermarkets, which operates 30 IGA stores across regional Queensland, closed its Alfred Street store on Christmas Eve, citing a business decision to combine the two outlets.

While the company said the larger store was keeping up with demand and it had received approval from the Murweh Shire Council to expand its Charleville premises, some locals are unhappy about the impact on vulnerable residents.

The local Country Women’s Association (CWA) branch has written a letter to the supermarket owner, outlining the loss of wider aisles and assisted access for people in wheelchairs and mobility scooters. The CWA also raised public health concerns after the delicatessen was removed from the remaining grocery store, stating it gave customers access to affordable protein-based foods in small quantities.

While Cornetts Supermarkets cited difficulty obtaining staff and said pre-packaged products had a longer shelf life, locals like retiree Sue Smith said it “pulls at the purse strings” to have to buy in bulk and that they feel lucky to still be driving, as many of their friends face longer taxi rides to get between the grocery store and other shops located 2 kilometres away.

The supermarket company said works to expand its Charleville premises were due to begin in about six months, and it felt the town didn’t need two supermarkets.

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