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Business owners want level playing field

Wednesday, 27th November, 2013

Sampsons Shoe Store owner Peter Nash says allowing people to buy goods from overseas on the internet without paying GST penalises Australian businesses. Sampsons Shoe Store owner Peter Nash says allowing people to buy goods from overseas on the internet without paying GST penalises Australian businesses.

By Emily Roberts

Internet purchases could cost more and take longer to arrive if the GST threshold on imported goods was lowered, but something had to be done to save Australian shops and manufacturing, according to a BH businessman.

The nation’s treasurers will meet in Canberra today to try and thrash out an agreement to lower the $1000 threshold.

Local retailers want to see a level playing field, given many foreign goods are GST-free under existing rules, while the states and territories argue they are missing out on much-needed GST revenue.

Local businessman, Peter Nash, said that not charging GST on overseas purchases was simply “wrong”.

“How on earth can any store compete anywhere when the Federal Government allows any purchase under $1000 to be GST free?,” Mr Nash said.

“That automatically puts any Australian retailer at a 10 per cent disadvantage.

“As a nation we are slowly selling ourselves down the drain.”

As the owner of Sampsons Shoe Store, Mr Nash said 20 years ago Australia had numerous manufacturers of footwear and clothing.

“Now we have Rossi and RM Williams, and just about every other high profile shoe or clothing label is imported,” he said.

“Imagine the number of jobs lost to Australians along with the skills of those people? We are the lucky country but times are changing rapidly.”

Appliances Online yesterday released its annual “How We Shop” study revealing the value of Australia’s online retail industry had risen by $100 million to $12.5 billion.

Australian consumers also ranked free delivery and trust as the most important considerations when shopping online.

“Online shopping is here to stay and will get even more popular over the next few years,” Mr Nash said.

“What doesn’t increase is the consumer’s disposable income. In fact, with the rising cost of living for fuel, electricity and water most households have less funds available for non essential items.

“Therefore it is clear that any purchases either online or outside of Broken Hill will impact on local stores. 

“The consumer is the only person who can make that decision about whether the local store deserves the business based on price, service and community values.”

Mr Nash said that all a local business can do is to try and provide goods or services that were ‘on par’ with what cyberspace has to offer.

“The internet is a marvellous medium to research products and decide what you want to buy, and one can only hope that locals continue to at least give the local stores the chance to supply that product,” he said.

“It’s been long pushed, the concept of shopping locally, by the Chamber of Commerce and the advantages that creates. It is reality in that if people don’t support the community then ultimately jobs are lost.

“The worrying trend has already started with CBD stores Toyworld, Nickas, Cullens and, in the near future, Carasel all closing down. Centro is not immune either with Rockmans departing.”

Mr Nash said the new Coles shopping centre will further “shake the retail tree” so the next 12 months would make for very uncertain times for locally-owned stores.

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