The Fair Imports Alliance has received written admission from the Customs and Border Protection Service that there is no proof to back-up that if the GST threshold was lowered, it would be economically and administratively unfeasible for the government.

According to the Fair Imports Alliance, Customs officer stated in an email in that: “‘Customs and Border Protection has not undertaken analysis of which threshold level will be administratively feasible.’ 

The Fair Imports Alliance spokesperson Brad Kitschke said the admission proved previous government decisions to maintain the low value import threshold at $1000 were made without any factual basis.

“The Government, from the Prime Minister down, has said it cannot lower the threshold because it would be economically or administratively unfeasible. It is now clear the Government and industry has been lead down the garden path by the bureaucrats in Customs,” he said.  

The issues paper, released by the Productivity Commission last month as part of its review into the structure of the retail industry, determined the federal government would miss out on up to $480 million annually.

“We have already seen the first cracks in the arguments put forward by Canberra bureaucrats. Their approach has not been to examine the threshold properly, but to maintain the status quo at all costs. The Productivity Commission’s revelation of $480 million in lost GST alone and the most recent admission by Customs proves that decisions have been made in the past in the absence of fact,” Kitschke said.

The Fair Imports Alliance wrote to the Minister for Customs, Brendan O’Connor last month seeking answers to a series of 15 specific questions related to research, data and modelling around the Low Value Threshold. It had previously sought answers to these questions at a Custom’s run industry forum but answers were not provided. The Fair Imports Alliance says that the correspondence to Minister O’Connor as yet has neither been acknowledged or replied to.

Industry has been left waiting for answers ahead of its 20 May deadline to submit to the Productivity Commission’s review. It has now resorted to lodging a series of Freedom of Information requests with various Government agencies in the hope that it might obtain information crucial to it’s submission on behalf of the retail industry.