Aussie Retailers Rail Against Online Shopping

In a move that could end up affecting video game prices, Aussie retailers are demanding that the government impose GST on all goods bought over the internet, or remove the GST in Australia to level the playing field for brick and mortar retailers.

The continuing strength of the Aussie dollar compared to its US equivalent has driven many consumers online to import, resulting in one of the worst Christmas hauls in recent memory for Australian retailers. Now a retail coalition made up of 2211 stores nationwide – including Myer, Harvey Norman and David Jones – is asking the government to do something about it.

Currently GST is not charged to imported goods under $1000, whilst all goods bought in Australia are subject to the tax, which drives up prices locally. Retailers have argued that this is unfair, giving overseas online stores a head up – and have even asked the government to consider removing the GST on locally sold products at the same price.

Myer Chief Executive Bernie Brookes claimed the current system is unfair.

“We just want the same rules that we have to live with — collecting GST and duty — to be applied whether you reside in China or Australia,” he claimed.

Despite high video game pricing in Australia, we sympathise to an extent. It does seem unfair that retailers are subject to a tax that consumers can negate by shopping overseas. The solution, however, seems less clear. Removing the GST on all products under $1000 is pie in the sky stuff, but adding GST to products bought overseas would be a logistical, and costly, nightmare.

Any ideas folks? Or should things remain as they are.

Online sales will kill jobs: retailers [The Australian]

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