West Torrens Council has voted against giving Woolworths a rates discount for its proposed $50 million shopping centre at Torrensville in Adelaide's western suburbs.
The retailer said the centre at the Brickworks site would create 600 jobs and boost the area's economy.
Mayor John Trainer said the council had a good working relationship with the company on the project, but Woolworths could not be treated any differently from other businesses.
"Woolworths make the argument that they provide employment, but the same thing applies to every other organisation like that in West Torrens," he said.
"The Adelaide Airport, for example, the brewery - all the other businesses in West Torrens they provide employment as well. Woolworths are not unique and I'm surprised that they should try and use that as an argument.
"It should send a message that we do not have 'amateurs representing communities to be exploited' tattooed across our forehead. One would almost think that perhaps senior management at Woolworths have a checklist that says at the last moment 'try the council on and see if they'll give you a rate rebate. You never know, you might get it'."