Jeparit without fuel after sudden Landmark closure

JEPARIT is without fuel after Landmark closed without warning on Monday.

Former Hindmarsh Shire Council mayor and Jeparit resident Michael Gawith described the closure as heart-wrenching.

“The main service that will hurt is bowser fuel and that’s going to leave a huge hole in the Jeparit township,” he said.

“The thing that’s really up my nose is the multinational corporation moving in and buying the business.

“Then they close it down and expect everyone to go to a larger centre.”

A Landmark employee confirmed the closure but refused to comment further and directed the Mail-Times to Victorian general manager Jon White.

Mr White did not respond to requests for comment.

Landmark south-east region director Rob Clayton said the company closed it Jeparit store on Wednesday after giving notice to the store's two employees.

"Landmark remains committed to the local community, and will continue to provide service, expertise and innovation to agribusinesses through both the Horsham and Warracknabeal branches,'' he said.

"We understand this closure includes the fuel station that was part of the store.

"Fuel sales are not part of Landmark’s core business and the pumps at Jeparit are owned and operated by a non-Landmark affiliated party.

"It is our understanding that the owners of the building are in talks with another party who may be interested in providing this service.''

Residents will have to travel to Dimboola, Warracknabeal or Nhill to refuel.

Landmark bought the agricultural side of the business from the Pfeiffer family less than a year ago.

Landmark also operated the fuel outlet but its sudden closure meant no-one was able to step in to continue sales.

“It’s leaving the town in the lurch the way multinationals walk away with no obligation and leave basic products like fuel missing from a town,” Mr Gawith said.

Jeparit resident Yolande Hutson said the sudden closure came as a shock to residents.

“Fair enough they’re closing, but the fact is the community has been given no warning,” she said.

“A notice on the door isn’t going to help us get fuel or horse food or dog food.”

“A notice on the door isn’t going to help us get fuel or horse food or dog food.” - Jeparit resident Yolande Hutson

Mr Gawith said the closure could have economic effects on the town as fewer people stopped when passing through.

“People will pull into the museum and when they go away they won’t tell everyone about the wonderful experience at the museum; all that will be in their minds is that they couldn’t get petrol,” he said.

He praised the resilience of Jeparit residents and said they would fight to get fuel back in the town.

“There’s still potential in these townships,” Mr Gawith said.

“There are new people in the cafe, new people in the grocery shop who are really having a go.” 

Jeparit Town Committee vice-chairwoman Raylene Werner said she was optimistic a solution could be reached. 

“We’ll keep our finger on the pulse,” she said. 

“We’ll try to make sure fuel is available and see what we can do to help the town.”

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