One of the major Australian talking points here at Kotaku, especially over the last year, has been the increase of online importing and its impact on games retail. After Gerry Harvey and other retailers railed against online shopping and its effect on the Australian economy, it seems the issue has been made a real priority by the Government, who have announced an Online Retail Forum to "discuss the opportunities and challenges that exist for Australian retailers in the digital economy."
Confirmed speakers so far include Senator Stephen Conroy (Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy), Senator Nick Sherry (Minister for Small Business) and representatives from Australia Post, eBay Australia, PayPal, Grays Online and Temando.
It's an interesting proposition. With the Labor Government currently attempting to push through the National Broadband Network in the face of opposition, it's in the best interest to show that Australian business will benefit from its implementation, therefore it's possible that this 'Online Retail Forum' will be about showing how retailers can use the internet to their benefit, as opposed to shouting it down as an enemy to be feared.
More and more consumers are importing games into the country, especially in lieu of the strong Aussie dollar. How long this situation will last is up for debate, but this Online Retail Forum may be of interest to anyone and everyone interested in the price of goods and services in this country. With video games continuing to cost more in this country compared to the US and Europe this is an issue that continues to be important for gamers in Australia.
More information, including info on live streams, and attendance can be found here.