darren.chester.mp@aph.gov.au 1300 131 785
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December 27, 2010

The impacts of online shopping will be investigated through a Productivity Commission Public Inquiry, according to Federal Member for Gippsland Darren Chester.

Mr Chester, who has been actively promoting the benefits of shopping locally to help create jobs in Gippsland, said the inquiry followed issues raised in recent months by local retailers concerned by the impact increased online shopping is having on the small business sector.

Mr Chester said he was concerned that the combined impacts of online shopping and travelling to Melbourne to buy good was threatening the long-term viability of small businesses in Gippsland.

“The announcement of a public inquiry into the impacts of online shopping will no doubt be welcomed by many small business operators across Gippsland,” Mr Chester said.

“Some have contacted my office with their concerns and there has been ongoing media coverage in the lead up to Christmas about the unfair playing field for local small businesses competing with internet based organisations.

“Current tax laws mean that items purchased from overseas with a value of less than $1000 are not subject to the GST which makes it very difficult for local businesses to compete with imported goods.

“I have previously raised this issue with the Treasurer and I will be encouraging concerned local retailers and consumers to get involved and have their say through the public inquiry process.”

Mr Chester said The Nationals would continue to promote their ‘Putting Locals First’ message throughout the year.

“When you shop locally you help to create jobs in Gippsland,” Mr Chester said.

“I encourage everybody to take advantage of a large range of products and quality follow up service available through retail outlets right across Gippsland.”

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