Retailers call for higher charges on foreign purchases

Harvey Norman boss Gerry Harvey has defended a new campaign by Australian retailers that calls for an end to tax exemptions for purchases from foreign websites worth less than $1,000.

A total of 21 retail chains have so far lent their backing to the campaign which aims to see the Goods and Services Tax and import duties imposed on foreign purchases that are made online.

Mr Harvey claimed that Australian consumers would end up paying a much higher price in the long-term because of lost jobs and a weaker Australian economy, the Herald Sun reported.

"Yes, you might have to pay more, but it's the right thing to do. You'll pay a lot more if we lose jobs and retailers close down," he said.

The campaign has prompted a public backlash among shoppers concerned about losing out on online bargains. Consumers seeking to improve their spending power can also choose to compare credit cards and other money products in search of the best options.

Myer chief Bernie Brookes, who is also backing the campaign, said that sales lost as a result of unfair tax breaks for foreign competitors could lead to 30,000 jobs being lost in the retail sector.

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