There is a price disparity for tech products and video games in Australia. This is something we’re all aware of, but now the Federal Government is looking to take action on the issue, putting together a committee to look into these price disparities. Until July 6, the committee will be accepting submissions on the topic.
“Australians are often forced to pay more for IT hardware and software than consumers in overseas markets,” said Nick Champion, Committee Chair. “The Committee’s inquiry aims to determine the extent of these IT price differences and examine the possibility of limiting their impact on Australian consumers, businesses and governments.
“[T]he Committee will look into the cost of computer hardware and software, including games, downloaded music, e-books, and professional software, to name a few. The Committee is looking forward to hearing from the companies who set these prices and the consumers and businesses that purchase their products.”
Details on how to make a submission to the Committee can be found here, but we’d suggest focusing your submissions on the the inquiry’s terms of reference:
“Noting the estimated value of the Internet to the Australian economy, and the importance of competitively priced IT hardware and software being made available to business, government and the community, the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Infrastructure and Communications is asked to inquire:
(a) Whether a difference in prices exists between IT hardware and software products, including computer games and consoles, e-books and music and videos sold in Australia over the internet of in retail outlets as compared to markets in the US, UK and economics in the Asia-Pacific;
(b) Establish what those differences are;
(c) Determine why those differences exist;
(d) Establish what the impacts of these differences might be on Australian businesses, governments and households; and
(e) Determine what actions might be taken to help address any differences that operate to the disadvantage to Australian consumers.”
In the wake of GAME’s voluntary administration, and JB Hi-Fi’s decision to openly sell parallel imports in store, this inquiry couldn’t be more timely. Local retail is in a strange state of flux, and it’ll be interesting to see precisely how local publishers justify cost pricing decisions. Particularly since one of our major specialist retailers has publically struggled to stay afloat.