Retailers welcome proposed tax on overseas online items
COFFS Coast retailers may be in for a win in the fight against the growth of online shopping.
But there is some bad news for consumers who regularly purchase items online from overseas.
News today indicates the Department of Home Affairs is proposing to introduce a $5 tax on every package containing items worth less than $1000 sent from overseas.
If passed, the tax would affect 90 per cent of deliveries entering the country.
The news comes as online shoppers brace themselves for GST to be introduced on small online buys, which will come into effect from July 1.
According to Fairfax, the proposed tax has been suggested as a means of balancing Australia's biosecurity budget, which has taken a serious hit as the popularity of online shopping rises - during the last financial year, 38.7 million packages worth less than $1000 each entered the country.
That represents a 22 per cent rise from the previous year, and the Department of Home Affairs is expecting that figure to keep growing rapidly.
Coffs Harbour Chamber of Commerce President George Cecato today welcomed the news as a win for shop local campaigns.
"I firmly believe it is a policy on the right direction," Mr Cecato said.
"Online shopping has increased massively in the last few years - it is a threat to small business.
Mr Cecato said there has been a growing trend of online shoppers using the expertise of brick and mortar stores before leaving shops empty-handed only to purchase the same items online.
"Shoppers are going into local stores looking for items, having their technical questions answered and gaining that product knowledge then purchasing online.
"Another concern is that when something goes wrong with a product purchased online there is an expectation that if that brand is represented locally, the shopper can rely on the local retailer to invest their own time, effort and expense to solve their issues.
"Hopefully the proposed tax and the online shopping increase makes people think twice about shopping online."
The $5 online shopping tax would give the budget a $200 million cash injection - but it could come at the expense of consumers, with some experts claiming the tax combined with the GST would double the cost of some online buys.