By Aimee Chanthadavong

Up to $600 million in revenue could be loss by the government if goods under $1000 continue to be imported in Australia GST free, the Australian Retailers Association (ARA) said.

Russell Zimmerman, ARA executive director, told Retailbiz that Australia’s GST free threshold for imports creates an unlevel playing field for Australian retailers.

“Currently, there is GST on imports over $1000 but the problem is that there are goods valued under $1000 coming in and you don’t have to pay any duty tax or GST,” he said.

“What we’re trying to imply is the best solution is put the GST threshold back down to $400, which it was back in 2005 and it would just make a lot of sense.

“We believe in fair competition and a more equal level playing field but a lot of the goods that are coming in are coming under this threshold and it’s causing a lot of retailers a lot of pain.”

Based on a Frost & Sullivan report, it is estimated that Australian consumers will spend in excess of $12 billion dollars online this year and almost half of that will be spent offshore.

“This is costing Australian retailers money because if this keeps going and consumers continue to buy things from overseas it could mean that retailers would have to reduce the amount of staff to maintain profit and we are concerned about that,” Zimmerman said.