Retail trade union Shop, Distributive & Allied Employees Association (SDA) has backed up retailers in their call for reducing the $1000 GST import threshold.

In its submission to the Productivity Commission’s inquiry into the retail sector, SDA said Australian ‘bricks and mortar’ retailers shouldn’t need to be competing against overseas retailers on an uneven playing field.

“The government should impose a GST on all overseas purchases. This would mean all goods purchased in Australia, whether from Australian or overseas suppliers, would be subject to the same tax regime,” it said in the submission.

“We acknowledge that this would not necessarily remove all adverse factors for Australian retailers seeking to compete in the global market, but it would significantly even up the playing field.”

Currently, imports of less than $1000 are exempt from paying GST but retailers such as Harvey Norman and Myer have been lobbying the federal government to remove that threshold to increase local competitiveness.