Friday, 24 July 2015

Okay so the GST (VAT) is

going to be added to all on-line shopping as well. The Premiers of the states agreed to this yesterday. The GST is also likely to rise from ten to fifteen percent. I suspect the Medicare levy will also rise. Downunder is running out of money.  
The Opposition is well ahead in the opinion polls, likely to win the next federal election and planning to spend a great deal more. They have to fund it somehow.
Until now Downunderites have been able to do some of their on-line shopping GST free. I know, it seems unfair. We should all pay our taxes.
But it is genuinely a little more complex than that. Downunder has a relatively small population. It is around twenty-four million. The United States of America is around three hundred and twenty-four I think. (Correct me if I am wrong.) China has more than a billion people. We just don't compete or compute. 
Most Downunderites live along the coastline. Yes, the middle is mostly desert of a sort. Even our state capitals are small by world standards. It doesn't stop Sydney being one of the most expensive places in the world to live but even there you won't find all you might need. 
I know what online shopping does to local business but our population just doesn't allow local businesses to stock all that people now want - or even need - in a global world. Trading hours are limited and employing people is becoming increasingly more complex and expensive.  It also takes time for goods to arrive  Downunder.
If I want to order a book from my local independent bookshop then there is a tortuous process to go through. I want to support the shop. It's a particularly good shop. I know the staff. They know me. We work well together. I often suggest other people use it. But, sometimes I buy books online. I have to. 
If I buy a book from my local indie then, unless they have it in stock, it can take six, eight or even twelve weeks to arrive. Six weeks is a short time. I can order a book from an overseas supplier and have it within a week. The book may cost anything from half to two thirds of the cost. If I am working on something and I need the book in a hurry that is where I am going to get  it from. It's not the fault of the local indie. It is the way they must do business.
If I want knitting yarn I can go to the local haberdashery store and buy from the limited range there - or I can go to the big variety type store and buy slightly cheaper yarn, most of which is produced in Asia. The quality is not good. Nowhere can I buy the more specialist yarns used in books and magazines. I stopped trying to design for a Downunder magazine for that reason. It wasn't worth the hassles involved. I have been given good yarn from other sources and the difference is extraordinary. The group of students  I have worked with for some years know and appreciate the difference. Yarn online? Of course I will because the quality counts.
We should of course be producing and exporting the very best yarn ourselves. 
Adding GST to all online purchases is designed to boost local sales - or so we are told. My guess is that this won't happen. Local prices will need to be not merely the same but significantly cheaper. The variety will need to be there. The goods will need to the goods people want. Shops will need to be open longer hours because online shopping is done after hours.
Or, there is another alarming scenario. If they have to collect Downunder GST overseas business will not do business here. It won't be worth their while. If the post office has to collect it they will have to add another charge as well. Downunder will become a dumping ground for remainder items. 
So, the Premiers have decreed this will happen - but have they really thought it through? What sort of mechanism do they propose? 

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