New tax plan for imported parcels

The Department of Home Affairs wants you to pay for the cost of screening parcels.

The Department of Home Affairs has proposed a second slug on purchases from overseas websites, recommending that up to $7 be charged for each mailed package.

It follows the 1 July 2018 introduction of a goods and services tax (GST) on all imported purchases.

In a discussion paper, the department said the levy would help recoup the cost of screening parcels imported into Australia.

Last financial year, almost 40 million parcels, equal to nearly two per person, arrived from overseas.

The ABC reported on its website that the department was promoting a tax of between $2 and $7 per item to cover costs associated with biosecurity, cargo and trade border activities.

From 1 July, people who shop on overseas websites will have to pay a 10 per cent GST. Previously only goods worth more than $1000 attracted the tax.

Last year, online retailer eBay threatened to block Australian customers from buying on overseas sites if the Federal Government went ahead with the new GST sting.

If the proposal for a parcel tax goes ahead, the price of a large-print, paperback copy of John Grisham’s latest novel, The Rooster Bar, would go from A$24.95, as it is currently listed on Amazon’s US website, to A$34.45, including the new GST – that extra $9.50 is equal to a 38 per cent increase.

Will you bother to shop online if you have to pay a parcel tax on overseas goods?

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    COMMENTS

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    alfie
    23rd Mar 2018
    10:08am
    On line shopping is slowly killing the retail industry without us even realising it. Soon we will not have shops to shop around and look st things. Yes I agree that on line should only be for selected items you don’t find in the shops and if you wish to buy on line it should be at andven playing field. Since it’s foesnt pay for rental, wages and other expenses a fair tax should be added to make things fairer for retailers.
    Anonymous
    23rd Mar 2018
    11:46am
    We have too many shops these days all fill with overpriced imports from China. Bring back Australian made industries instead of importing that crap and support Australia instead if China. Online shopping is making Australia Post rich instead of making the buyer pay more tax, tax Australia Post it is privatised.
    MB100D
    23rd Mar 2018
    4:33pm
    Wrong Jackie Australia Post is the trading name of the Australian Postal Corporation (formerly Commission), an Australian government-owned corporation that provides postal services both locally and internationally, as well as operating retail outlets.
    Incognito
    24th Mar 2018
    2:40pm
    It won't be a level playing field. Retail stores have to drop their prices and make less profits to stay in the game.
    And yes I agree with Jackie so much stuff comes from China. I went to buy pj's and slippers the other day, all from China. Even my new bike that I have put on layby is made in Asia, I think Taiwan. What does Australia make? Even if they make something here it is usually only assembled from components from China. All you can do is try to support Australian business but it is not always easy.
    Not a Bludger
    23rd Mar 2018
    10:26am
    The major problem for the public is how to keep these pollies (at all three levels of government) out of our wallets.

    Our taxes are to pay for infrastructure etc and now they want to force us to pay yet another tax/levy ( in addition levying a new GST) to do the same.

    Unbelievable!
    Incognito
    24th Mar 2018
    2:42pm
    Yeah I can't see them using the extra income wisely, after all they are going to give $65 billion to big business and recently trying to open up more fishing grounds in the Great Barrier reef, effectively reducing all the protected marine parks.
    Fiona
    23rd Mar 2018
    10:29am
    I usually only buy inexpensive jewellery from overseas on Ebay. $5 tax would be more than the article costs in most cases, so I probably won't bother.
    Old Geezer
    23rd Mar 2018
    11:26am
    Try using ebay.com instead of ebay.com.au.
    Anonymous
    23rd Mar 2018
    11:50am
    Old Geezer....eBay.com delivery charges and money exchanges are not worth it.
    Old Geezer
    23rd Mar 2018
    12:16pm
    They might be when the Government adds the extra tax.
    Eddy
    23rd Mar 2018
    11:14am
    It comes down to pay for what you use. In the case of overseas purchases the cost of admitting those purchases into the country should be borne by someone, and it is only fair it is the purchaser.
    Incognito
    24th Mar 2018
    2:43pm
    Why not the seller?, they can wipe it off their profit and loss statements.
    Bridgit
    23rd Mar 2018
    11:24am
    I only buy from within Australia from mostly existing bricks and mortar outlets that sell online. Some computer software of course you have no choice as it is an overseas product - the thing that does annoy me however is something I recently found with software - the product is now available from within OZ at almost twice the price AUD than USD so obviously they will not get my custom!
    Curious
    23rd Mar 2018
    12:10pm
    It is a typical human reaction! "I am alright, Jack", until I get hurt or I am taxed. What happens to the patriotic slogan, "buy only Australian produce or products". This is partly the LNP government's fault, advocating "Free Market". Wake up everybody, nothing is free in this world, particularly the global economy. They either suck us dry or exploit our free market and take all our bounties to line up their wealth overseas.

    It is also a typical reaction of eBay, threatening embargo on online Australian customers for the levy on bio-security check, being against free trading. eBay is an American corporation, who is not objecting to its Administration on reintroduction of tariff on its imports. eBay is a big corporation, conducting business all over the world, as part of the global economy. However, just because its size, it is definitely NOT a government, imposing its will on Australians as their customers. Without customers, eBay like any other corporations, great and small, are nothing. I wonder, how much eBay and other eBusiness companies pay taxes to our ATO, as a abiding corporate citizens of Australia? They don't pay, but you and I have to pay their taxes via GST and other charges. The big corporations think they are Money God and do what they like. They exploit our "Free Market" in the name of competition through global economy to suck us all dry.

    All international and big corporations are the causes of the big leakages from our Australian "Free Market" economy, that's why our government cannot do it alone to introduce tax reform, measures to fix budget deficit, implementation of an industrial bargaining to raise basic wages, effect control over inflation rate, normalisation of interest rate and control over our land and resources to foreign purchasers.

    All the external forces of globalisation have a lot factors affect the ailments of our Australian economy. These factors need to be carefully examined with a view to stopping the leakages from our economy. The proposed $65 billion gift payments to corporations are not the solution when we already can identify the size of the leakage from these payments to overseas. When we cut foreign aids, we said charity had to start at home. Why are we doing this $65 billion donation to big corporations, who think they are so Money God?

    I wonder, how much of this $65 billion donation will affect their share values and their dividend distribution to shareholders. If there any prospect of increasing dividend pay-out, it will be discounted by the low tax cut proposed by the LNP government. The lower tax rate will affect your refund or payment of franking credits. You and I cannot win, the government gives you something on one hand and take it away from the other hand. The government hasn't make any effort to look beyond our borders and horizon to fix our economic problem. In fact, the government cannot look beyond its nose and that is why the government and opposition are picking on vulnerable senior citizen and other disadvantaged groups and cut down services to pop up this morbid economy.
    Charlie
    23rd Mar 2018
    1:27pm
    But wasn't it Paul Keating who started us on deregulation and the free market economy.
    Curious
    23rd Mar 2018
    2:10pm
    Indeed, he did. He also put a million people out of jobs for the depression we had to have. He called our economy a banana republic! That sums up our pollies, doesn't it?
    Not a Bludger
    23rd Mar 2018
    3:23pm
    Curious - Curious to know the name of the loopy planet - clearly divorced from the real world - that you live on?
    Curious
    23rd Mar 2018
    5:43pm
    Not-a-Bludger, to answer your question: Earth and the Continent is Australia.

    If you read my comment carefully, I agree that the proposed levy is justified but the big companies like eBay, want to exploit our generous "Free Market" to make profit and yet don't pay tax to Australia, to pass on any levy and tax to customers, just they think, they are big enough to do what they like. This concept of globalisation to exploit our market and economy in the name of competition and democracy, I don't buy it at all. The bounty of Australian labour and resources has been exploited and sucked out our economy, which I referred as leakages from our economy. These leakages need to be stopped. If you think this view is loopy, I don't know where have you been on this planet, witnessing these atrocities.
    SuziJ
    23rd Mar 2018
    12:30pm
    If more goods were available and affordable here in Australia, then this wouldn't be an issue.

    Most of the items I purchase from overseas are for IT items, which aren't available here, and items from China & Hong Kong have free shipping!
    Incognito
    24th Mar 2018
    2:45pm
    That has always been my dilemma too, no IT products are made in Australia and if we buy them here then big profits for the Australian re-seller (which is usually an Asian importer anyway).
    shirboy
    23rd Mar 2018
    1:08pm
    Australia Post is no longer AU. It sold out to Japan.
    MB100D
    23rd Mar 2018
    4:40pm
    Wrong Australia Post is the trading name of the Australian Postal Corporation (formerly Commission), an Australian government-owned corporation that provides postal services both locally and internationally, as well as operating retail outlets.
    They are a self-funded government business enterprise. The Australian Government is the sole shareholder.
    They don’t receive any taxpayer funding and they paid more than $2 billion in dividends to the Australian Government over the past decade.
    Your Welcome.
    Charlie
    23rd Mar 2018
    1:24pm
    Its always just a matter of time before the liberals start going too far and messing things up....

    I wish I could keep voting for them but when they start making imported items under $1000 more expensive, instead of making businesses compete, I start to look elsewhere.

    Sometimes my age pension will allow me to buy quality items on Ebay for a very low price and they cant be bought anywhere else.
    Local business wont get these items in, even when you ask them too, because everything they sell is controlled by a company in a capital city. They steer away from small numbers of quality items, because they make more money putting a high markup on junk that seems inexpensive, until you find out they almost got it for nothing.

    I like to have an overseas competitive market to browse and buy items that local businesses are not innovative enough to consider.
    Charlie
    23rd Mar 2018
    6:34pm
    Less than a day later I read that the federal government is opening up more areas of the great barrier reef to commercial fishing. They've lost it again, time to turf them out.
    Incognito
    24th Mar 2018
    2:51pm
    Yes Charlie , this Government is the worst for environmental standards ever. It is all about big profits for big business, never for the average person or the future of our children. We have massive clearing of tree's in NSW and QLD that is at an alarming rate, killing off our koala's and the worst CO2 emissions ever. Also they are trying to sneak in more coal mines bigger than Adani's whilst everyone is concentrating on stopping the Charmichael mine, bigger ones are being proposed. All those profits will end up overseas and not to help Australians. Taking from the poor and given to the rich, that is this governments motto. Vote for the smaller parties and independants.
    MON
    23rd Mar 2018
    2:16pm
    Fully support the introduction of a surcharge (it's not a tax) designed to recover the additional cost that is required to keep our borders safe.
    MB100D
    23rd Mar 2018
    4:43pm
    Spot on.
    Tib
    23rd Mar 2018
    2:54pm
    The government is trying to kill online shopping, for years local businesses have been charging ridiculous prices with huge profit margins, we paid because we didn't have a choice. Because of online shopping now we have a choice , business doesn't like it so the government is going to put a stop to it. Besides the government can't increase the GST if you don't pay it if you buy overseas, it puts local retailers at an even bigger disadvantage. Soon as we are paying GST on goods from overseas watch the GST go up. Mongrels.
    MB100D
    23rd Mar 2018
    4:45pm
    So who do think should pay to have the goods screened to keep our borders safe?
    Tib
    23rd Mar 2018
    5:59pm
    Retired Knowall I don't think this is about the cost of screening goods. It's about reducing consumer choice.
    Charlie
    23rd Mar 2018
    6:41pm
    How do we know they even need extra money to keep our borders safe. That's just a clever excuse because there's a television series about border security, but the one I saw was about New Zealand.
    MB100D
    24th Mar 2018
    8:41am
    The number of Parcels coming into Australia has more than Tripled in the last 5 years. How do think the large numbers are screened? By the Parcel Fairies?
    It's a fair cost and will help level the retail playing field.
    It's always about choice, you can still buy overseas, just pay for the cost's associated with it.
    Tib
    24th Mar 2018
    11:00am
    Retired knowall you're comment is rubbish. $7 per parcel isn't fair it's just a tax. Parcel fairies aren't that expensive. You won't convince me this con isn't a con.
    Tib
    24th Mar 2018
    11:10am
    Retired knowall tell your liberal masters you weren't able to convince anyone on their BS.
    MB100D
    24th Mar 2018
    11:41am
    I'm not trying to convince you, I learnt long ago never to ague with an idiot.
    Tib
    24th Mar 2018
    1:39pm
    Is that why you stopped talking to yourself. Ha ha
    MB100D
    24th Mar 2018
    6:03pm
    Very intelligent, point proven.
    Tib
    24th Mar 2018
    8:53pm
    Thankyou
    Dave R
    23rd Mar 2018
    3:36pm
    I don't have a major problem with goods I buy overseas being subject to a 10% GST because most of what I buy is only worth a few dollars. For the same reason I do have a big problem about the introduction of a flat rate charge. I also wonder how the GST will be calculated as the value written on the shipping packets of most items is not their true value.
    Incognito
    24th Mar 2018
    2:54pm
    I agree percentage is much fairer than flat rate, those buying small items which we might need to buy from overseas for example, IT items should not be charged a flat rate tax. If you can afford a big item then you can afford the extra flat rate tax.
    Jim
    23rd Mar 2018
    5:22pm
    I am all for supporting Australian buisness, but we need to be careful, this tax that we want to put on products bought from overseas is a tariff and I think that's how it might be viewed. To say it is to cover the cost of screening is a bit of a stretch, everything that is imported from overseas is screened as it comes through customs, so does that mean everything that comes from overseas is going to attract this additional charge? It might affect our trade with overseas companies, or is the charge only going to be charged to products from e bay and similar companies?
    Incognito
    24th Mar 2018
    2:55pm
    If they do it it will be all imported, it is money grabbing and trying to help out big business in Australia, small business won't be able to survive.
    Aussie Businesses FIRST
    23rd Mar 2018
    5:24pm
    Just exactly which bit don't the people who object this understand.
    You live in Australia
    You work in Australia for an Australian based Company and they pay you, not overseas companies. Would you rather your boss employs overseas people to do your job, at less than half of what you get and you go on social security? Think about it?
    You get some of the best working conditions in the world from an Australian business.
    Australian Businesses, NOT OVERSEAS BUSINESSES CREATE JOBS FOR YOU AND YOUR AUSSIE MATES, YOUR CHILDREN AND OUR FUTURE GENERATIONS, NOT OVERSEAS COMPANIES.
    You get Superannuation, Holiday Pay and Sick pay etc. from Australian businesses.
    The list goes on and on.
    Now, when the Government are trying to level the playing field, so that we all pay the same fees and charges, you are starting to look and sound like our Politicians, who have only ever been interested in what's best for them, instead of what's best for Australia and the Australian people.
    At least they are finally listening to the business community and doing something about levelling the playing field.
    Why should those people who do care about Australia, have to subsidise the costs of handling all those imported goods for you?
    The fairest thing is User pays. You want to buy online from overseas companies then you pay the costs. That's a much fairer system for everyone.
    If you buy locally sometimes you may have to pay more, but at least it is going to benefit Australia.
    AUSTRALIA MUST COME FIRST . AUSTRALIAN BUSINESSES MUST COME FIRST AND JOBS FOR AUSSIES AND THEIR FUTURE GENERATIONS MUST COME FIRST.
    Curious
    23rd Mar 2018
    5:52pm
    I couldn't agree more.

    I hope someone proposes what we can do to put Australia and Australian Business first. It is apparent that our government is not listening its - people. Do we think that $65 billion gift to all corporations is putting Australia and Australia Business first, when we know about 25% or more is going overseas - a big leakage, don't you think?
    Jim
    23rd Mar 2018
    6:08pm
    It's really difficult to argue with such a patriotic comment, I think all fair dinkum Aussies would agree with your comments, unfortuanately I am not sure how practical it is going to be, our manufacturing industries have been decimated over many years, I have always tried to buy Australian made goods whenever I could, the problem is many times I have bought goods that I thought were Australian made only to find out they were mostly made overseas and may have only been packed here or had a small amount of assembly here. The tax that the government is going to collect from this could be in the millions, if it is not used to invest in Australian buisness I can't see how it's going to help. I have stated that I try to buy local goods, but there are some things that we just can't compete, an example, is an iPad cover I buy mine on eBay for $7/$8 locally they cost $20/$25 for the same thing, so even if $5 is added to the price I think most people will still buy the cheaper one.
    Incognito
    24th Mar 2018
    2:57pm
    I agree with you Jim, I always research my buying and often cannot buy or cannot afford the Australian version of anything, and mostly it is only assembled or re-boxed here anyway.
    *Imagine*
    23rd Mar 2018
    5:44pm
    And the collateral damage? Nobody has mentioned the overseas family birthday and Christmas gifts for Aussie born children of migrants - most of our population. I will have to curtail the receipt of these small gifts that have more emotional/familial value than monetary worth. $7 a package to put through a scanner or pass by a dog. Get real. Next thing they will want to charge for screening all luggage of inbound flights at a Kg rate of $$$$. I imagine what our pollies want to do (both major parties) is increase the GST to 12.5% or 15% but they remember the demise of Hewson who tried to mention the original GST and was hung out to dry.
    Aussie Businesses FIRST
    23rd Mar 2018
    6:34pm
    The next thing the Government will have to do is something they did in the early Eighties and that is to get the banks to collect the handling fees and GST as the transaction takes place online and report the transaction to Border Force. The banks back then, before online existed, collected two transaction taxes for the Government. Some of us will remember them as FID and BAD taxes. Doing this again now will eliminate the fraud that is currently happening. Border Force or Border Farce as one of their employees described them to us, could match the parcel coming in with any transactions, so that if there wasn't any money transferred overseas and a parcel arrived there may not be any fees?
    The biggest problem we have at the moment is that several overseas companies are prepared to write out invoices for far less than the buyer pays to help them escape the handling fees and GST. Those Aussies who are willingly a part of that scam on the Australian people should hold their heads in shame as they are scamming their brothers and sisters and everyone and should be named and shamed and heavily fined. My group of business people who have been campaigning for the changes to this legislation for around 8 years have copies of fraudulent invoices that would shock you. One, where the importer here in Australia paid in excess of $35,000 for, came in with an invoice attached to it for $650. Several of our high level Federal Politicians have copies of those invoices and have had for a few years and still haven't stopped it happening. Some overseas websites even invite you to choose how much you want the invoice made out for, because they know how easy it is to scam our Australian Government.
    Without having a matching system of the money leaving the country to the amount written on the incoming invoice the scam and fraud will continue. The Banks, if they cant collect the fees, could even send a list of all money transferred every day to Border force so that they could match it. Try getting the Pollies to listen to the people of Australia is a hard slog I can tell you. As long as they know we are getting scammed and allowing to happen means they are also a part of the scam on our country. Why they just don't fix it, is all about votes and no other reason.
    MICK
    24th Mar 2018
    4:28am
    Sounds a lot like local businesses are trying to form a cartel and prevent consumers from buying cheaper goods. Seriously, some Australian businesses are rip off merchants demanding a monopoly because they want huge profits. For those of us who travel we ask ourselves how the same item can cost three times as much on overseas shelves. So now the response is to prevent Australians from getting a good deal. That is a cartel!
    Aussie Businesses FIRST
    24th Mar 2018
    2:16pm
    If you were prepared to work an 8 hour day in Australia for as much as some of the people do in other countries, like $2 a day or $1.50 an hour and no holidays, sick pay or superannuation etc. then Aussie businesses could also compete with them. It is simply not possible to compete unless we are all on the same level playing field.
    There is no business cartel. All they want is the same deal for everyone. If businesses in Australia have to pay Customs handling fees, Duty if applicable and GST and have to pass those costs on to the customers then everyone should have to pay those same fees. Its the only fair thing the Government can do.
    Incognito
    24th Mar 2018
    2:59pm
    They are not worried MICK because it won't bother their rich mates, only the lower income people will suffer more. We will have to go back to whittling with our knives to make things ourselves.

    24th Mar 2018
    9:49am
    Guess that's the end of rellies living overseas sending gifts to loved ones in Australia then. How sad for children who have loved ones living abroad. Those small gifts, personally wrapped with hand-written messages on the cards attached mean a great deal to children who are missing loved ones.

    I wonder will this extend to servicemen working abroad and separated from their families. I hope there will be some concession for them.
    micko
    24th Mar 2018
    10:06am
    Australia.....you have become one of the most expensive countries in the world in which to live.
    KSS
    24th Mar 2018
    12:20pm
    I seriously don't think this has anything to do with border protection at all. It smacks of more protectionism for bricks and mortar stores and another tax grab by the Government. How much is it going to cost to identify those parcels ordered from Australia and those parcels simply sent from overseas - a child's birthday gift from a relative for example? Surely those parcels simply sent from overseas carry more 'risk' than parcels from an off-shore shop. And if this isn't done, how is the levy going to collected from the sender of the parcel who has nothing to do with Australia or its retailers and is simply sending a gift? And frankly any criminal perpetrator sending drugs hidden in books or engine parts is hardly likely to be put off by a $2-$7 dollar tax. And snooping on Australians' banking transactions for overseas purchases is not the answer either. Most of my own on-line shopping is for gifts for family members overseas. I buy from shops in those countries, paying the VAT and other taxes applicable in those countries, and sometimes postage or delivery charges for delivery in those countries. Australian border protection has no part to play in those transactions. And I do it because it is far cheaper to do that than pay Australian proces and the outrageous postal charges. So am I going to be hit with a border protection charge when they have nothing to do with the movement of those goods because they have snooped around my banking transactions to find I bought something overseas?

    Or is it going to be a ransome tax so that Australia post will stop the current charade of delivering parcels and making you pay when you go to pick them up? No pay, no parcel!

    And what about those transactions you think are being done in Australia but are actually going overseas? Microsoft and Tom Tom are two good examples of this. You think you are paying in Australia for software or other goods because the company has a physical Australian address, gives you an Australian invoice in Australian dollars, provides a receipt in Australian dollars and delivers the goods either instantly via download or in just a couple of days (faster than Aus post can do it), yet when you check your statement (you do check your statement right?) you find an international currency charge!

    The GST collection has yet to kick in and we still have no idea how that is to be both levied or collected. However, given that most goods bought on-line fall into the category of being considerably less expensive i.e. more than 10% cheaper, unavailable in Australia or even both, I still maintain that adding GST to a $20 dollar book for example is still worthwhile buying on-line.

    The general 'Australia' tax we all pay is no longer justifiable as the cost of sending goods here. Buying from either the UK or the USA for example is not contributing to the salary difference between Australian business and say Asian workers any more than buying those goods here. China makes products and sells them round the world. If Australians can buy those same goods cheaper from halfway round the world and get it delivered to Australia still cheaper than buying in the local stores, then retailers here need to have a careful look at what they are doing and stop blaming their customers for shopping elsewhere.
    Curious
    24th Mar 2018
    2:31pm
    KSS, you have raised a number of good points, where the consumers in Australia are not on the same level of playing field and our government hasn't provided an equitable legal framework and processes to protect and to defend our "Free Market" in the following areas: -

    1. Distinctions between family gift parcels and commercial parcels and the difference processes for their custom duties, GST and other processing levies. I remembered, on my first overseas holiday in 1982, I purchased a pair of matching china vases and posted them back to Sydney. When they arrived, I had to pay custom duty for one vase only because I bought one vase over the limit. With online purchasing these days, as distinct from family gift parcels, it will be good to know the rules. Like anything, we have to find out the details the hard way, our government only tell you what is our tax or duty obligations but never tell you why and how. You have a point here.

    2. With the concept of globalisation and the advance of digital technology, our "Free Market" has been expanded to online purchasing to overseas for whatever the reasons:- availability of goods, cheaper prices, better quality and better style and fitting. In the past, these goods and products were not taxed, to subject to GST or custom duties or tariff.

    3. Due to our government's support of enterprises in our "Free Market" in the name of competition and democracy, the leakages of our consumers' contributions to our National Gross Domestic Product (GDP) have gone overseas companies. Consequence to the reduction of domestic consumption, local business shrinks, which has a direct affect on employment. The ultimate effect is that government receives less income tax, small business tax, company tax, and GST. The laissez-faire system operating under a global economy cannot rely on invisible hand of the "Free Market" to bring about much needed tax reform, to fix budget deficit, to provide consumer protection, adequate funding for hospital and education, protection and defending our border security and to normalise basic wage and interest rates.

    4. The sheer size of the "Free Market" under globalisation is too big and huge. If you think Facebook is big and powerful with a total asset of $600 billion, The total value of the "Free Market' under globalisation would over trillion and trillion dollars. If Facebook is "unmanageable", "ungovernable" and "uncontrollable", the said global economy would be a monster, which would be difficult but much needed to be tamed. Much needed regulations, governance and cooperation of the G20 to bring this global economy back to earth. Empires of Conglomerations, international companies and local big corporations be put on notice, self regulation, free trade, exploitation of tax havens, and violation of consumers and users' rights are no longer acceptable and tolerated.

    5. Government privatisation of public utilities is one of the offshoot of the "Free Market" concept. The more they privatise these services and infrastructure, the less they can govern, protect its citizens and their rights and defend the sovereignty of our land and resources. People may point to the success of laissez-faire system in Switzerland, Denmark, Ireland, Hong Kong and Singapore. However, their systems were in place before globalisation and the advance of digital technology. Their current cost of living is so high, I wouldn't like to live there. I rather our government can control, manage and govern our economy to give Australians a peace of mind. We may not be too rich but we are healthy and happy with our bounty, which we share among ourselves.
    Curious
    24th Mar 2018
    2:31pm
    KSS, you have raised a number of good points, where the consumers in Australia are not on the same level of playing field and our government hasn't provided an equitable legal framework and processes to protect and to defend our "Free Market" in the following areas: -

    1. Distinctions between family gift parcels and commercial parcels and the difference processes for their custom duties, GST and other processing levies. I remembered, on my first overseas holiday in 1982, I purchased a pair of matching china vases and posted them back to Sydney. When they arrived, I had to pay custom duty for one vase only because I bought one vase over the limit. With online purchasing these days, as distinct from family gift parcels, it will be good to know the rules. Like anything, we have to find out the details the hard way, our government only tell you what is our tax or duty obligations but never tell you why and how. You have a point here.

    2. With the concept of globalisation and the advance of digital technology, our "Free Market" has been expanded to online purchasing to overseas for whatever the reasons:- availability of goods, cheaper prices, better quality and better style and fitting. In the past, these goods and products were not taxed, to subject to GST or custom duties or tariff.

    3. Due to our government's support of enterprises in our "Free Market" in the name of competition and democracy, the leakages of our consumers' contributions to our National Gross Domestic Product (GDP) have gone overseas companies. Consequence to the reduction of domestic consumption, local business shrinks, which has a direct affect on employment. The ultimate effect is that government receives less income tax, small business tax, company tax, and GST. The laissez-faire system operating under a global economy cannot rely on invisible hand of the "Free Market" to bring about much needed tax reform, to fix budget deficit, to provide consumer protection, adequate funding for hospital and education, protection and defending our border security and to normalise basic wage and interest rates.

    4. The sheer size of the "Free Market" under globalisation is too big and huge. If you think Facebook is big and powerful with a total asset of $600 billion, The total value of the "Free Market' under globalisation would over trillion and trillion dollars. If Facebook is "unmanageable", "ungovernable" and "uncontrollable", the said global economy would be a monster, which would be difficult but much needed to be tamed. Much needed regulations, governance and cooperation of the G20 to bring this global economy back to earth. Empires of Conglomerations, international companies and local big corporations be put on notice, self regulation, free trade, exploitation of tax havens, and violation of consumers and users' rights are no longer acceptable and tolerated.

    5. Government privatisation of public utilities is one of the offshoot of the "Free Market" concept. The more they privatise these services and infrastructure, the less they can govern, protect its citizens and their rights and defend the sovereignty of our land and resources. People may point to the success of laissez-faire system in Switzerland, Denmark, Ireland, Hong Kong and Singapore. However, their systems were in place before globalisation and the advance of digital technology. Their current cost of living is so high, I wouldn't like to live there. I rather our government can control, manage and govern our economy to give Australians a peace of mind. We may not be too rich but we are healthy and happy with our bounty, which we share among ourselves.
    Incognito
    24th Mar 2018
    2:35pm
    Sorry but I think it is another money grab for the government. It also attacks lower income people looking for a bargain. I always look to buy in Australia first but when it comes to anything for a computer etc. it all comes for overseas. Even if you buy it from a so called Australian company often they are not even Australian, and you still have to wait 2 to 3 weeks for delivery. If you send anything overseas you are paying more postage than any other country and now they want to sting us with things coming in. Small items should be exempt, not by cost but by weight. If you are buying large expensive items from overseas then $7 is not going to make much difference. It will not help our economy because people will just stop buying, I very rarely buy books now because I borrow from the library.
    KSS
    24th Mar 2018
    4:19pm
    The most expensive things come in very small blue packages! :-)
    Circum
    24th Mar 2018
    8:47pm
    Is this the end of "parcels for pensioners"?
    KB
    26th Mar 2018
    12:54pm
    No longer be worth shopping online. This tax might help Australian retailers if they keep their prices down.
    Ronin
    28th Mar 2018
    10:17am
    No-one has mentioned a major reason for the high cost of goods in retail stores, the exorbitant rents charged by shopping malls.
    Incognito
    28th Mar 2018
    12:24pm
    Exactly, it's the overheads that kill retail shops. We have a lovey local shop I like to support and she struggles with all the overheads. Having to pay full insurance for the property as well as the business. I said what does the owner pay, she tells me nothing, only takes the rent, never does any maintenance either.


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