Position of Labor Senators
Labor Senators support the collection of GST on low value imports in
However, Labor Senators want to see a model that is workable. It should
have a high degree of compliance and not have significant adverse consumer
Labor Senators are prepared to work in a bi-partisan manner to find a
Findings from the written submission and hearing processes
Treasury admitted that the lack of a Regulation Impact Statement was in
breach of the Office of Best Practice Regulation guidelines. Labor Senators
were very concerned to hear that the Turnbull government had botched its own
eBay claimed that Treasury officials had told them that they expect a
25–30% compliance rate from the model set out in this legislation. Treasury
officials later stated that they expect this compliance rate in the third year
of operation and for it to reach maturity in 2022–23 at 54%. Labor Senators are
concerned that this bill will not level the playing field as claimed by the
Labor Senators also heard evidence from the Australian Tax Office that
jurisdictions like the USA and China will not enforce the measure on their
behalf. Labor Senators are concerned that compliance is largely reliant on the goodwill
of overseas operators.
No explanations were offered by the Government for the decision to move
away from recommendations set out in Chapter 7 of the 2011 Productivity
Commission report Economic Structure and Performance of the Australian
Retail Industry and the subsequent Low Value Parcel Processing Taskforce
final report. The taskforce report considered a number of different models and
proposed a form of 'logistics' model where logistics companies might collect
Regarding the 1 July 2017 start date, Treasury officials declined to
answer questions about whether alternative start dates had been modelled.
Witnesses from the Australian Retailers Association, online retailers, the
Conference of Asia Pacific Express Carriers and the Freight & Trade
Alliance all expressed concerns about the 1 July 2017 start date.
Labor Senators also note comments made in the media by the Chair
expressing similar concerns about the 1 July 2017 implementation date:
Look, the model that’s been proposed was announced in August
2015. However, it’s quite understandable that those companies to whom it
applies wouldn’t be prepared or have made the necessary changes until after the
legislation was actually passed.
The Treasurer has botched the policy development process, has failed to
properly consult with stakeholders and has failed to develop a workable model
for low-value imports that levels the playing field while maintaining suitable
The Government note the in-principle support of Labor Senators for the
collection of GST on low value imports.
That the Senate should not pass the Treasury Laws Amendment (GST Low
Value Goods) Bill 2017.
The Government complete a full review within one year, with engagement
from all stakeholders. The review should include an analysis and comparison of
alternative implementation models.
The Government deliver a Regulation Impact Statement with any revised
legislation to assure small businesses and consumers that measures will operate
Any revised legislation is to have a start date of 1 July 2018.
Chris Ketter Senator Jenny
Deputy Chair Australian
Labor Party, NSW
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