Since the Queensland flood hit the hearts of many, the Retail Coalition has been noticeably quiet.

Made up of some of Australia’s largest retail chains including Harvey Norman, Myer and David Jones, the Retail Coalition launched a national campaign calling for the federal government to impose GST on internationally bought items to level the playing field for local retailers.

But before another outburst, the Fair Imports Alliance, which represents a collation of retail and wholesale industry associations, has called for an end to the big retailers’ campaign.

Fair Imports Alliance spokesperson Brad Kitschke said the big retailers’ media campaign been an unmitigated disaster.

“It’s a public relations nightmare. We warned them, we asked them not to go ahead with the campaign which actually doesn’t address the issue properly and is narrowly focused,” he said.

The Fair Imports Alliance has written to the members of the big retail coalition including chief executives and boards of directors of the various companies involved asking them to stop their campaign and instead focus on the Productivity Commission Inquiry into the Future of Retail.

“The issue is broader than just the GST.  It’s about custom duties, illicit trade and consumer protection. Consumers have rightly rejected this campaign by the big retailers. They have not done their research and they are asking the Government to implement a solution to a problem that goes well beyond the GST. They have just got it wrong,” Kitschke said.