Minister tackles retail travails

Federal Small Business Minister Brendan O’Connor says he sympathises with local retailers losing customers to online shopping. 

Speaking during a meeting with local business leaders and representatives from the City of Greater Bendigo, Mr O’Connor said he expected the government to address the possibility of introducing GST for overseas online purchases under $1000 “relatively soon”. 

“There has to be a decision made on that,” he said.   

“We have had the Productivity Commission review it, we’ve had a taskforce look at it – we have to make a decision. 

“There are arguments for and against, but the government will be making a decision on that relatively soon so people have certainty.”

While Mr O’Connor said he sympathised with concerns over internet sales, he wouldn’t say if he supported the GST changes. “In the end I’m a collective member of the government,” he said.  

“I have conveyed in the strongest possible terms the concerns that small businesses have raised about the $1000 tax-free threshold.”

Bendigo Business Council executive officer Patrick Falconer said there was too much focus on medium and large businesses.

“Small businesses are the biggest employers in the country,” he said. “The majority of grants are for manufacturing but I think we should look at helping all businesses, no matter who they are.”– 

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