ASGA’s Kitschke 'supports consumer choice’

The Fair Imports Alliance (led by ASGA and the Australian Retailers Association) wants consumers to understand that the campaign is not  about punishing individual purchasers.

In a statement, alliance joint spokesperson  and ASGA executive director Brad Kitschke says, "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."

The alliance says calls from retail giants for an immediate reduction of the GST threshold did little to address the more significant issue of systematic abuse of current regulations for imported goods.

Alliance joint spokesperson and 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".

"The real issue is 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."

Kitsche said that properly enforcing importation regulations and preventing manipulation of the system was a more significant issue than the level of the GST threshold.

The Fair Imports Alliance comprises the ARA, ASGA, Bicycle Industries Australia, Australian Toy Association, Photo Marketing Association, Australian Fishing Trade Association, Australian Booksellers Association , Australian Music Association  and the Retail Cycle Traders Australian.



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