Yesterday it was announced there would be a Federal Inquiry into the price of digital software in Australia, to discuss why Australians are pay inflated prices. We spoke to Ed Husic, the MP who has been consistently raising these issues in Parliament. According to him, claims that high Australian wages are to blame, are a “massive cop-out”.
“I’d be surprised if US companies are adjusting prices for the Australian market based on the higher wages we have here,” he said, speaking to Kotaku Australia. “I think that’s a massive cop-out. It’s more to do with the relative weakness of the US economy. I think they figure they can make up for losses at home with higher prices in this country.
“They think they can get away with it here, but not in the US.”
Despite the fact that Australians pay more for tech products compared to those in Europe and the US, retailers such as Harvery Norman and GAME, appear to be struggling. We asked Ed Husic if that struggle was indicative of a larger problem. Should we really be paying less for products when retail is clearly having difficulties?
“Retail is going through a transition period right now,” he said. “Every so often that happens, there is a new development and they have to adjust. Retailers are going to have to be quick to adapt to online shopping, and realise that the whole thing is more transparent.”
The upcoming inquiry is designed to investigate the price of digital products in Australia, and gives publishers the chance to explain why we are being charged an inflated amount. We asked Ed what he hoped to hear from local publishers.
“Well, I hope that they understand that there are a lot of consumers who are interested in this issue,” he said. “What I’m hearing from people is that this is something that’s been bugging them for a long time. It has taken a while to get to this point and I hope they take this opportunity to realise what a big issue it is.
“If they want to be ahead of the game they should take this opportunity to explain their pricing in Australia or, better yet, reduce those prices.”