Amazon has a long road ahead in Australia, says Harvey Norman chief

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Gerry Harvey, one half of the founding duo behind household goods retailer Harvey Norman, has again aired his thoughts on Amazon’s arrival publicly.

Harvey told Fairfax Media that he doubts claims that the e-retailer will be up and running down under by 2018, citing his own experiences of obtaining permits to develop purchased land.

“Amazon to my knowledge haven’t even bought a block of land in Australia,” he said. “Let’s assume I buy a block of land tomorrow – I’ve got to buy it, pay for it, put in a development application.

“If that happens within three years, that’s very quick – and I read that Amazon is going to be fully operational in late 2018. For their model to work they would need 50 warehouses in Australia. Start with two – one in Sydney and one in Melbourne – and then it’s, how do you deliver? That’s the best-case scenario.”

Harvey added that Harvey Norman acquired land in Macgregor, Queensland, approximately 11 months ago and is still awaiting permission to build upon it.

“I know how long it takes,” he said. “I settled six months ago and I’m still trying to get council approval, [I] am hoping for approval within 12 months.”

The Sydney Morning Herald noted that Amazon has chosen commercial real estate company CBRE to help with its search for land, and is also expected to secure at least four large warehouses and a few smaller warehouses in Australia.