Major Australian retailers are calling for a new tax on overseas online purchases in the latest chapter of the turf war against global e-commerce rivals.
Harvey Norman, Coles and David Jones have proposed a new tax for customers in the latest chapter in the standoff between the perceived online threat and the old guard of Australian retail. The proposed tax will be charged on all items purchased over the value of $100 and is the retailers’ latest effort to stave off competition from overseas rivals offering quicker delivery and cheaper goods.
The Australian National Retail Association (ANRA) has urged for the new tax in its most recent submission to the Productivity Enquiry, claiming that major retailers are being hurt by global e-tailers despite cutting prices.
“Australian retailers are cutting prices to the quick, but they still struggle to compete in a global environment where they pay duties and taxes that online importers do not,” said ANRA CEO Margy Osmond.
“They pay wages, rents, sick leave and other necessary benefits that overseas suppliers do not have to pay.”
The ANRA has also called for customs duty to be abolished on consumer goods and for a review of taxes on merchants competing with overseas companies.
This alarmist outlook is getting old as the proof for local online retail growth mounts – Forrester has predicted double-digit jumps in e-commerce spending in the next three years with revenue tipped to reach $36.8 billion by 2013.
Earlier in the year, big ticket bricks and mortar retailers such as Harvey Norman, Woolworths and the Just Group lobbied for a GST on all goods purchased online under $1000. This figure appears to have been downgraded to just $100.
It seems that this petty turf war is masking deeper insecurities about holding up to international standards. Unfortunately, there are no excuses – the path has been laid out. What are your thoughts?