Bunnings Penrith/ Wolseley Street/ Regentville

Robert and Arthur Bunning arrived in Fremantle, Western Australia, on June 29, 1886. Their passenger ship, the Elderslie, had sailed from London. The Bunning brothers were sawmillers, brick manufacturers and timber merchants. They purchased their first West Australian sawmill in 1887.

Robert Bunning was president of the Timber Merchants and Mill Owners Association from 1904 to 1925. He believed that state-owned sawmills were a threat to free enterprise. Bunning’s friend Frank Wilson, a fellow timber merchant and coal mine owner, established the Coalowners Association of Western Australia, and became Liberal state premier in 1910.

In 1952, Bunnings Brothers Pty Ltd became Bunnings Limited, a public company.

In 1989, Bunnings purchased the Alco Handyman chain of hardware stores in Western Australia. In 1993 it purchased McEwan’s brand hardware stores in Victoria and South Australia. The first Bunnings Warehouse opened in the Melbourne suburb of Sunshine in 1994. The opening was conducted by Victorian state Liberal premier Jeff Kennett, who, in his first term, undertook a cost-cutting and privatisation program that saw the closure of 350 public schools, and the sacking of approximately 8000 public school teachers and 16,000 public transport workers.

Wesfarmers Limited assumed 100 per cent ownership of Bunnings in 1994. Wesfarmers Limited is Australia’s biggest private sector employer, with a workforce of around 220,000 people. Wesfarmers Limited began as a farmer’s co-operative in Perth, Western Australia, in 1914. In 1984 Westralian Farmers Co-operative Limited formed Wesfarmers Limited, restructuring from a co-operative to a public company. Wesfarmers Limited was listed on the Australian Stock Exchange on 15 November 1984. After becoming a public company, Wesfarmers diversified its interests by acquiring other businesses. In 2001 Wesfarmers purchased the BBC Hardware network in Australia and New Zealand, which included the ‘big box’ retailer Hardwarehouse and Benchmark Building Supplies. In 2016 Wesfarmers purchased the Homebase network of retail hardware stores in the United Kingdom and Ireland.

Bunnings Warehouse is a cornerstone brand. As of December 2015 there were 240 Bunnings Warehouse locations across Australia, with another fifteen to eighteen Warehouses projected to open during the 2016-17 financial year. There are also 67 smaller format Bunnings stores and 32 Bunnings Trade Centres currently in operation. The size of the Bunnings network means we can offer real benefits and opportunities for career and personal development. Just ask one of our team members and they’ll tell you. As a Bunnings team member you’ll enjoy such benefits as flexible working arrangements.

Wesfarmers Limited has interests predominantly in Australian and New Zealand retail stores, as well as in chemicals, fertilisers, coal mining and industrial and safety products. Wesfarmers owns the Curragh coal mine in Central Queensland and the Bengalla coal mine in the Hunter Valley, New South Wales.

Richard Goyder AO, Managing Director of Wesfarmers Limited, is a director of the Business Council of Australia. The Business Council’s strong view is that the workplace relations system of today does not position us well for the future. The system should deliver a safety net, coupled with a focus on the unique circumstances of the enterprise and the shared interests of managers and workers in its success. The Business Council contends that the rejection of individual agreements in the workplace is ideological. Workers and enterprises should be given the option to negotiate an individual agreement. Ideology must be removed from the workplace relations system. Wesfarmers’ primary objective is to deliver satisfactory returns to shareholders through financial discipline and strong management of a diversified portfolio of businesses.

On 2 July 2007 Wesfarmers announced that it was purchasing the Coles Group retail business for $22 billion. Coles’ businesses include Coles Supermarkets, Coles Online, Coles Express, Vintage Cellars, First Choice Liquor Superstore, BI-LO, Coles Financial Services and Liquorland. With over 2200 locations around Australia and a team of 100,000 personalities working together, there’s no limit to the experiences you can have in a career at Coles.

The Home Improvement and Office Supplies division of Wesfarmers is made up of Bunnings Group, trading as Bunnings Warehouse, and Officeworks, the market leader in office supply stores. Wesfarmers Department Stores division comprises the discount retail store Kmart, including Kmart Tyres & Auto Service, and the department store retailer Target. During the 2015-16 financial year, Target recorded an operating loss of $195 million.

Target Penrith is located in the Westfield Penrith shopping centre, at Jane Street.

Kmart Penrith and Kmart Tyre & Auto Service are located in the Nepean Village shopping centre, at the corner of Station and Reserve Street.

Officeworks Penrith is located at 273 High Street.

Liquorland Penrith is located in the Nepean Village shopping centre.

First Choice Liquor Penrith is located at 90 Woodriff Street.

Coles Express Penrith is located on Mulgoa Road, Jamisontown, close to the Bunnings Warehouse.

Coles Supermarkets Penrith is located in the Nepean Village shopping centre.

For the financial year ending on 30 June 2016, Wesfarmers’ underlying profit was $2.35 billion.

7-Eleven/ Henry Street/ Penrith

There are many ways to pay at 7-Eleven. We accept Visa, Mastercard, American Express, Diner’s Club as well as EFTPOS and the exclusive 7-Eleven Fuel card. At 7-Eleven we are always looking for talented and vibrant people to join our team. Rewards and incentives are offered as recognition of excellent performance and initiative. 7-Eleven boss Russ Withers buys new private jet. 7-Eleven supremo Beverley Barlow buys $20 million record-smashing Brighton mansion.

The majority of 7-Eleven stores in Australia operate as franchises. The franchise and operating license is owned privately by the Withers and Barlow families, who also own the Australian franchise license for the Starbucks chain of coffee shops. In 2010 Russ Withers and Beverly Barlow bought 300 ExxonMobil petrol stations across Australia. There are currently 626 7-Eleven stores in Australia. As of 2016 the estimated personal wealth of Russ Withers and Beverly Barlow is $1.1 billion.

7-Eleven, 30 Henry Street, Penrith, open 24 hours. 7-Eleven, 588 High Street, Penrith, open 24 hours. 7-Eleven, 15-19 Aspen St, South Penrith, open 24 hours. 7-Eleven, 92 Mulgoa Rd, Jamisontown, open 24 hours. 7-Eleven, 36 Mulgoa Rd, Regentville, open 6am to 10pm. 7-Eleven, 49-51 Great Western Highway, Emu Plains, open 24 hours. 7-Eleven, corner of Old Bathurst Road and Russell Street, Emu Plains, open 24 hours. For us, franchising is the best formula. And the best way to franchise is to share gross profit.

Until 2015 7-Eleven head office received 57 per cent of gross profits from franchise stores. The balance after the franchisee had subtracted wage costs and other expenses from the 43 per cent split of gross profit represented the franchisee’s net income. Revealed: How 7-Eleven is ripping off its workers. 7-Eleven wage compensation bill may top $100 million. Outlook gloomy for underpaid 7-Eleven employees.

The committee heard that many franchisees from the Indian subcontinent (India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh) and southern China tended to recruit international students from those same ethnic backgrounds. International student visa holders are generally restricted to working a maximum of 20 hours per week while in Australia. The Minister for Immigration and Border Protection may cancel a student visa if the holder is in breach of their visa conditions. This can be done by serving the visa holder with an automatic notice of cancellation.

At 7-Eleven, many international students were required to work hours that exceeded the maximum permitted by their visa conditions. As a consequence of working more than 20 hours a week the international student was in breach of their visa conditions. And yet, if the international student did not secure sufficient work, they were unable to pay their university fees and would therefore also be in breach of their visa conditions.

The Department of Immigration and Border Protection exercises discretion when considering breaches of a person’s visa conditions, taking into account each person’s specific situation. If you worked for 7-Eleven in breach of your visa conditions, the Department will consider any extenuating or mitigating factors that might be relevant to your breach when deciding whether to cancel your visa.

A 7-Eleven franchise is a partnership in success. Listen, we all underpay.

The Department does not usually detain people in Australia who voluntarily approach it to resolve their immigration status. We’re excited that you’re interested in this business opportunity and look forward to partnering together for a better future.

Westfield Penrith/ High Street/ Penrith

At the south-west extremity of Westfield Penrith, between the shopping precinct and the Joan Sutherland Performing Arts Centre, there is a narrow strip of outdoor space. It is a simulation of a public square. Yellow beach umbrellas stand upright on fake turf. Penrith City Library and Penrith City Council chambers are at the western end of this space.

Do you remember when we gathered here outside the Council chambers, lined up against the fascists? They were protesting a Penrith Council vote on the building of an Islamic prayer hall at Kemps Creek; ours was the counter-protest. Antifa worse than ebola, their placards said. At least it rhymes.

The shopping centre known as Westfield Penrith has a gross lettable area of 91,829 square metres, leased by 335 separate retailers. It has 3521 car parking spaces. The key retailers at Westfield Penrith are Myer, Target, Big W, Woolworths, Aldi, Harris Farm Markets, Rebel Sport, Apple, JB Hi-Fi and Hoyts.

Scentre Group has a 50 per cent ownership stake in Westfield Penrith, while the other 50 per cent is controlled by the GPT Group.

Scentre Group was created in 2014, when the Australian company Westfield Group was split into two new companies: Scentre, to own and manage 41 Westfield shopping centres in Australia and New Zealand, and Westfield Corporation, which owns 33 Westfield shopping centres in the United States, two in the United Kingdom, and one in Milan, Italy.

Westfield was named after subdivided farmland in Blacktown, where the first Westfield shopping centre in the world was built. It opened in 1959. (Westfield Blacktown, which no longer exists, is not to be confused with Westpoint Blacktown, an unrelated shopping centre that opened in 1973 and has continued to expand.) Frank Lowy, founder of the Westfield Group, was ranked on the 2016 BRW rich list as the third wealthiest individual in Australia, with a personal net worth of $8.26 billion.

Upon acquiring its ownership stake of Westfield Penrith in 2005, Scentre changed the shopping centre’s name, which had formerly been Penrith Plaza.

In addition to Westfield Penrith, the GPT Group also counts Macarthur Square, Campbelltown, and Norton Plaza, Leichhardt, among its Sydney retail properties. The GPT Group is the owner and manager of a high quality portfolio of Australian office, logistics, business parks and prime shopping centre assets, including the MLC Centre at Martin Place; Australia Square, on George Street; and the Darling Park office and retail precinct at Sussex Street, Darling Harbour. Precinct comes from the Latin, praecinctum: to encircle. An area over which a body or person has jurisdiction; the area within the boundaries of a place. At the core of these conditions we naturally find an authoritarian decision-making process that abstractly develops any environment into an environment of abstraction. An enclosing line or surface. Darling Park provides its tenants with a complete environment.

Of course, nothing can ever really take place in this space between the retail and performing arts precincts, by which we mean a living criticism, fed by all the tensions of the whole of everyday life, of this manipulation of cities and their inhabitants. There were many cops planted in between us, an enclosing line. The fascists waved Eureka Flags.

Westfield Labs is an entity of Westfield Corporation, based in San Francisco. Westfield Labs is focused on removing the friction from physical commerce. We want to create a seamless experience across all phases of the shopper journey. If something takes place it must be in space as well as time. Dealings, social intercourse, converse with God; with spirits, passions, thoughts, etcetera.

Westfield Bondi Junction, Westfield Burwood, Westfield Chatswood, Westfield Hornsby, Westfield Hurstville, Westfield Kotara, Westfield Liverpool, Westfield Miranda, Westfield Mount Druitt, Westfield Parramatta, Westfield Penrith, Westfield Sydney, Westfield Tuggerah and Westfield Warringah Mall. Westfield is in the business of creating extraordinary places.

Photo: Anwen Crawford

164 Station Street/ Penrith

A line of discoloured grass marks the path of a stormwater drain – or is it a creek bed? – through the field’s central corridor. Too far from the source to see the outlet.

On 19 January 2006, Panasonic announced that it would stop producing analogue televisions in order to concentrate on digital televisions. This is the site of the Panasonic factory, Australia’s last television plant. 1968 to 2006. 160 workers lost their jobs.

164 Station Street, Penrith. Land area: 7.85 hectares. Sold: August 30, 2005. Price: $21.5 million.

The southern part of the site is greenfield and undeveloped. The northern part of the site currently accommodates several industrial distribution buildings. No manufacturing occurs on the site. Directly adjoining the site’s northern boundary is the Nepean Village shopping centre.

On 15 December 2008 Penrith Council approved a Masterplan for the site put forward by Parkview Pty Ltd. DA08/0652 approved by the Council was for a mixed-use development of residential, commercial and retail property.

On 22 July 2013 Penrith Council rejected a revised development plan for the site which would have reduced the number of residential apartments from roughly 1100 to 570. The revised plan also included provision for the building of a ‘big box’ Masters Home Improvement store. Masters Home Improvement is the trading name of an Australian home improvement chain operated by retailer Woolworths Limited. Masters Home Improvement was created as a way for Woolworths Limited to enter the hardware retail space, which has been historically dominated by Bunnings Warehouse, owned by rival Wesfarmers. The two companies already compete with each other in the field of groceries, liquor, fuel and general merchandise.

In August 2016, Woolworths announced that it was selling the sites of its Masters Home Improvement stores to the Home Consortium. Home Consortium is a private company backed by the owners of the Chemist Warehouse, Spotlight Group and Aurrum. Masters Home Improvement warehouses will be converted into multi-tenant retail centres, beginning in 2017. Since the sale process began our 7700 staff in the Home Improvement businesses have worked extremely hard in an uncertain environment and we sincerely thank them for their commitment.

Casual Sales Assistant, First Choice Liquor, Penrith. If you’re the sort of person who puts other people first, you’ll really fit in at First Choice. The nature of our stock also means you’ll have to be physically capable of heavy lifting and staying on your feet for extended periods. Because we’re all about convenience for our customers, you may need to work across weeknights and weekends.

Part-Time Retail Sales Assistant, ALDI, Westfield Penrith. A Retail Assistant at ALDI needs to be able to thrive in a fast-paced team environment and always be willing to go the extra mile for their customers and team. The role is physical in nature, so you’ll need to enjoy hands-on work and meeting deadlines and our shifts can start at 6am some mornings, and finish at 10pm others, so being flexible and available any 5 out of 7 days is important.

Part-Time Team Member, Bras N Things, Westfield Penrith. As a Bras N Things Part-Time Team Member your primary responsibility will be to identify and deliver profitable outcomes for the store. As a Bras N Things Part-Time Team Member you are about the customer, always! This position requires flexible availability including weekends and late-night shopping.

164 Station Street, Penrith. Land area: 7.85 hectares. Sold: April 2, 2015. Price: $45 million. The current proposed redevelopment of the site will provide greater employment opportunities than currently exists on the site through construction and the ongoing operation of ground level retail premises.

At the Woodriff Street end of the site is a patch of dandelion. Do you remember learning to tell the time by dandelion? If something takes place it must be in time as well as space. No man can be rich, but he must be rich either by his own labours, or by the labours of other men helping him. A pre-requisite to the enrolment of the workers as ‘free’ producers and consumers of time-as-commodity was the violent expropriation of their time.

Eight for-profit employment and job service providers are currently operating in Penrith. Ability Options Employment, 3/30 Woodriff Street. Advanced Personnel Management, 2/331 High Street. Break Thru People Solutions, 31-33 Lawson Street. Complete Staff Solutions, 2/8 Castlereagh Street. MAX Employment, 606 High Street. Mission Providence Employment, 580 High Street. Penrith Personnel, 24/470 High Street. Sarina Russo Job Access, 570 High Street.

We have constructed a purpose-built data system. It collates all the welfare information that we have collected across Australia, over the last 15 years.

It allows us to then apply the types of algorithmic and actuarial analysis used in insurance industries.

Through this modelling we can predict the likely movements for target groups on, off and in between welfare payments, and calculate welfare expenditure for groups over the lifetime of the system.

But the really important purpose of the new data system is that we can be provided with great detail about quite small groups, and so we can use the data to test policy approaches to see whether they actually contribute to full, purposeful and self-reliant lives.

PricewaterhouseCoopers is contracted to undertake the analysis and provide four annual valuation reports of the Government’s future welfare costs. Sixty-three contracts between PricewaterhouseCoopers and the Australian Government have been published since 1 July 2016, for consultancy, auditing, financial and other services, for departments including the Australian Federal Police, the Department of Defence, the Clean Energy Corporation, and the Department of Immigration and Border Protection.

Now, saith the whisperings of the people, the inferior tenants and labourers bear all the burdens, in labouring the earth, in paying taxes and free-quarter beyond their strength, and in furnishing the armies with soldiers, who bear the greatest burden of the war; and yet the gentry, who oppress them and that live idle upon their labours, carry away all the comfortable livelihood of the earth.

This essay uses material appropriated from: bunnings.com.au; wesfarmers.com.au; Business Council of Australia: Submission to the Productivity Commission’s Workplace Relations Inquiry Draft Report, September 2015; coles.com.au; 7eleven.com.au; Fair Work Ombudsman report: Identifying and addressing the drivers of non-compliance in the 7-Eleven network, April 2016; The Senate Education and Employment References Committee: A National Disgrace: The Exploitation of Temporary Work Visa Holders, March 2016; border.gov.au; westfield.com.auscentregroup.com; gpt.com.au; Guy Debord, The Society of the Spectacle, trans. Donald Nicholson-Smith (Zone Books, 1994); westfieldlabs.com, Situationist International, ‘Unitary Urbanism’, in Leaving the Twentieth Century: the Incomplete Work of the Situationist International, trans. Christopher Gray, (Rebel Press, 1998); Planning Proposal, 164 Station Street, Penrith, prepared by Mark Thompson and Denis Smith, Planning and Property Consultants, November 2015; seek.com.au; christianporter.dss.gov.au; ‘The Law of Freedom in a Platform’, Gerard Winstanley (1652).

Published November 11, 2016
Part of Writing Place: The SRB has been publishing new writing devoted to place since 2016. All Writing Place essays →
Anwen Crawford

Anwen Crawford is a Sydney-based writer and critic.

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