Federla Member for Farrer has offered Deniliquin business representatives a promise to look at easing the burden on small business.By Zoe McMaugh
Federal Member for Farrer Sussan Ley has promised to look at making the tax on international online purchases fairer should the Coalition win the September 7 federal election.
Ms Ley, who is Shadow Minister for Employment, pledged the undertaking at a roundtable meeting with Deniliquin Business Chamber members on Wednesday.
Concept Computers owner Jarrod Clowes raised the matter with Ms Ley, saying the $1000 threshold being used is hampering Australian businesses — any purchase under $1000 is not subjected to a goods and services tax.
Ms Ley originally suggested halving the threshold, but Mr Clowes said the Federal Government needed to consider dropping the threshold to $0 to ensure a level playing field.
‘‘People can get an iPhone, for example, about 10 per cent cheaper online because they don’t have to pay the tax.
‘‘People also cheat the system by sending things in multiple shipments so each one is under $1000.
‘‘We have to have GST on everything, so why shouldn’t internet purchases? This rule is making Australian businesses anti-competitive.
‘‘In my view it should be dropped to zero because I can’t say to a customer ‘if you spend under $500 there’s no GST’.’’
When originally quizzed on the Coalition’s position of a GST on internet purchases, Ms Ley said it was not on her party’s agenda.
After hearing more from Mr Clowes, she said she was ‘‘happy to look at it’’ but said the operating costs of enforcing the rule may be difficult to implement.
Ms Ley also promised a Coalition Government would be ‘‘more energetic’’ when considering a requested change in penalty rates for weekend work.
Many local businesses say opening longer on a Saturday and Sunday is too expensive because of the cost to pay staff.
Deniliquin Deputy Mayor and real estate business owner Ashley Hall said the cost of staff was impacting on the town’s ability to cater to the weekend needs of the growing number of tourists.
With the Coalition announcing it would make no alterations to the FairWork Australia policy, Cr Hall asked whether it would include ruling out a change to penalty rates.
Ms Ley said the Coalition would use the policy within its frameworks to do what’s best for business.
‘‘I understand how it is at the moment. It’s because of this there are fewer entry level positions available for our young ones.
‘‘I can say that we will tackle the issue more energetically than the government has.’’
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