Online shopping could soon get pricier. Will that help local businesses?
Online shopping could soon get pricier. Will that help local businesses? Contributed

Will online shopping tax encourage consumers to buy local?

ONLINE shopping could soon become pricier due to a proposed tax by the Government, but this could mean good news for Fraser Coast businesses.

Consumers could be charged up to $7 per package delivered from overseas if the proposal from the Department of Home Affairs goes ahead.

Hervey Bay Chamber of Commerce president Sandra Holebrook hopes the tax would help balance the market between virtual and real-life shopping, ultimately keeping more money in our community.

"There are a lot of people who like the online way of doing business, so the tax may help reduce some of the purchases and make people think about sourcing locally,” Ms Holebrook said.

"We hope it balances things out and makes people think about buying local.”

The tax, impacting purchases under $100, would affect 90 per cent of deliveries entering the country if passed.

The revelation was made in a discussion paper as reported by Fairfax media.

The news comes as online shoppers brace themselves for GST to be introduced on small online buys, which will come into effect from July 1.

According to Fairfax, the proposed tax has been suggested as a means of balancing Australia's biosecurity budget, which has taken a serious hit as the popularity of online shopping rises - during the last financial year, 38.7 million packages worth less than $1000 each entered the country.

The represents a 22 per cent rise from the previous year, and the Department of Home Affairs is expecting that figure to keep growing rapidly.

"As the volume of imported low value consignments continues to grow, so too do the costs of biosecurity, cargo and trade border activities for those consignments,” the discussion paper says

"This has created increasing inequity and cross-subsidisation, where importers of high value consignments are paying for the border activities attributable to other users.

"Existing cost recovery arrangements are no longer sustainable and will not support Australia's future trading environment.”

What do you think of the online tax? Do you think it will have positive or negative effects on our economy? Send us a letter to editorial@frasercoastchronicle.com.au.



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