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Given all the planning and expense that shopping centers have put into preparing for Y2K, I believe that as long as the power supply can be guaranteed, the lifts and escalators will run and the lights and air-conditioning will work. For the shopping centre industry, it's not just a matter of adding 10 per cent, collecting the money at the till and sending it to Canberra. The GST requires the upgrading of financial management systems, stock-taking and re-pricing of thousands of lines of product, new computer systems, staff training and inventory judgments based on assumptions about likely consumer buying patterns before and after the tax.

"When you're wanting to contract a property conveyancing solicitors Brisbane for your deal however,"Retailers also have to cope with GST on their business inputs, including rent and outgoings.""This raises some questions for which there are not yet satisfactory answers:" "What will be the impact on turnover-based rents when wholesale sales tax is abolished and GST introduced?"The Shopping Centre Council and the Australian Retailers Association have agreed that the burden of introduction of the GST should fall fairly on both owners and retailers and that it should not provide windfall gains to either party.

In many cases, the real impact of the GST on rents won't be known until sometime after the tax is introduced, when fair adjustment of rents and other payments will need to be made. Then come the really big issues. Will shoppers keep spending as the economy grows or are we headed for a fall? Will shopping centres continue to be a preferred shopping format for consumers in the foreseeable future?

What impact will Internet shopping have on the volume and type of shopping centre trade? Will investment continue to flow into retail property allowing shopping centres to get bigger, better and brighter? What does seem clear is that shopping centres will need to continue to evolve - as they have done over the past half-century - to stay fresh and relevant to customers constantly seeking new experiences and easily distracted by competing attractions for their time and their dollars.