By Claire Reilly

SYDNEY, NSW: The Federal Government was planning on lowering the GST threshold on imports in October 2010 according to documents obtained by the Fair Imports Alliance under freedom of information laws.

According to the Fair Imports Alliance, the documents also indicated that “the Government was planning on reducing the low value importation threshold for overseas purchases from $1000 to $500”.

The Fair Imports Alliance is a representative group that comprises associations such as the Australian Retailers Association (ARA), Photo Marketing Association (PMA) and Australian Music Association (AMA).

Brad Kitschke, a spokesperson for the Fair Imports Alliance, said “The documents disclose that 1 July 2011 was nominated as the start date for a lower threshold and that Customs provided advice that a reduced threshold was administratively feasible.”

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“The Government has always claimed a lower threshold would be administratively unfeasible but these documents reveal otherwise,” Kitschke added. “They show that it could be done, that plans were in place to reduce the threshold and advice was sought as to the earliest possible start date.

“This information demonstrates the Government was giving serious consideration to reducing the GST threshold on imports prior to the announcement of the Productivity Commission Inquiry.

“Now that we have proof a lower threshold is both administratively feasible and economically beneficial we eagerly await the Productivity Commission’s recommendations when its draft report is released in August. 

“The Government established the Productivity Commission Inquiry and we have to put our faith in that process, even though politicians from all sides continually undermine the Inquiry by pre-empting the outcome and opposing a lower threshold.

“We want politicians to have an open mind to the outcome of the Inquiry. No matter what, we won’t stop fighting for the retail sector and the reform that is needed,” Kitschke said. has contacted a number of internet-based technology retailers for comment on the new revelations.

The documents cited by the Fair Imports Alliance are available through the Australian Customs and Border Protection Service website: