Anti-Internet shopping alliance launched

Following the very public and very loud complaints from the likes of Gerry Harvey and Soloman Lew over internet shopping, the peak Australian retailers body has sideswiped the major retailers and launched the Fair Imports Alliance in a bid to highlight the many other gripes retailers have with online shopping.

Fair Imports Alliance joint spokesperson and Australian Retailers Association (ARA) Executive Director Russell Zimmerman said consumers exercising their right to purchase personal items from offshore websites is just part of the new reality for retailers operating in a global retail environment and that the real issue was about fixing loopholes in the system that allow imports on a much larger scale.

“Even if the GST threshold for imported goods was lowered or abolished tomorrow, it still wouldn’t solve the long-term issue of individuals and businesses rorting the system to the detriment of Australian retailers and wholesalers.

“What requires serious Government consideration is how our current regulatory environment allows misuse of the system by businesses importing numerous packages under the GST threshold over a significant period and then opening temporary pop-up stores or selling the goods on e-bay GST free.

Fair Imports Alliance joint spokesperson and Australian Sporting Goods Association (ASGA) Executive Director Brad Kitschke agreed properly enforcing importation regulations and preventing manipulation of the system was a more significant issue than the level of the GST threshold.

“This is why Minister for Home Affairs Brendan O’Connor’s customs compliance campaign, due to begin early this year, is so important. It will expose flaws in the system that enable legitimate Australian businesses to be undercut by those abusing current regulations.

“Smart retailers are supportive of consumer choice and this debate shouldn’t be about punishing individuals who want to jump online and order goods from overseas for themselves or their families. All power to them – this is the sort of global environment in which retailers need to compete,” Kitschke said.