When Treasurer Joe Hockey meets his state counterparts on Wednesday, retailers hope they will agree on a lower GST threshold for foreign goods.
Retailers are hoping the nation’s treasurers will be able thrash out an agreement this week that would see a greater proportion of foreign goods bought online subject to the GST.
The $1000 GST threshold on foreign purchases will be high on the agenda when Treasurer Joe Hockey meets his state and territory counterparts in Canberra on Wednesday.
Previous work on this issue estimates a reduction in the threshold to $20 from $1000 would collect around $1 billion in GST.
National Retail Association chief executive Trevor Evans says this unfair GST loophole was enacted before on-line shopping became a widespread phenomenon.
“It’s time that it was applied fairly across the board, and this week’s meeting will be a good place to start,” Mr Evans said in a statement on Monday.
NSW Treasurer Mike Baird has been pushing for change for sometime.
“It is about time we had a genuine discussion on the issues that matter and it’s clear that under the new federal government this is what we are going to see,” he told AAP.
The previous Labor government argued that significant reforms were needed within the tax system, otherwise the cost of collecting the tax would outstrip the revenue collected.
Parliamentary secretary to the treasurer Steven Ciobo said this aspect does concern the commonwealth government, but added it was up to the states to argue the case for a lower threshold.
“It’s the state governments that actually reach the agreement and put in place the framework around what the threshold should be and how much revenue should flow back to the states,” he told Sky News.
But Opposition Leader Bill Shorten believes this is not an issue the government should be “shoving on to the states”.
“What I think the government has to do is demonstrate how this system will work, what it costs,” he told reporters in Melbourne.
Wednesday’s Standing Council on Federal Financial Relations meeting will be the first since the change of government, and will also consider productivity, infrastructure partnerships and the economic and fiscal outlook.
Mr Hockey will carry similar themes to the agenda of his G20 finance meetings next year when Australia will be host.
Finance ministers from the world’s leading developed and developing economies will meet on at least five occasions next year – in Sydney and Cairns, twice in Washington and for the Leaders Summit in Brisbane.
“One of the key drivers of growth across the globe and here in Australia is going to be infrastructure investment and I think we’re well placed to take a lead in it,” Mr Hockey told reporters in Canberra.
Separately, Mr Hockey will meet his New Zealand counterpart Bill English on Wednesday for the annual Australian New Zealand Leadership Forum in Sydney.
“From New Zealand’s perspective, the forum will allow us to engage with ministers in the new Australian government and agree on the direction of the trans-Tasman work program for the coming year,” Mr English said in a statement.