Chance to reel in online trade

Graeme Harris with a Shimano reel that can be bought online for half what he charges, undercutting his business enormously. Picture: Bruce Hunt        www.communitypix.com.au   d423384
Graeme Harris with a Shimano reel that can be bought online for half what he charges, undercutting his business enormously. Picture: Bruce Hunt        www.communitypix.com.au d423384

Mr Harris said Premier Colin Barnett had listened to retailers after they had run a strong campaign to stop WA opposing GST on imported goods until the collection was linked to a fairer system for all states.

Due to the WA share dwindling, Mr Barnett and Treasurer Mike Nahan had held out on the move to equal the GST on imported goods to try to leverage the Federal Government to give the West its dues.

�That strategy has now been abandoned,� said Mr Harris.

�And we welcome that decision, as the realisation has dawned on the Government that the GST threshold was hurting so many small businesses, the lifeblood of any community.�

Mr Harris said he was delighted the Premier had announced last week after the COAG meeting that tax changes were on the agenda.

�It will enable us to create more jobs in small business if we can generate an equal playing field,� Mr Harris said.

Swan Chamber of Commerce has been one of the most powerful and vocal opponents of the GST threshold not being lowered to tax all goods under $1000 as more and more small businesses in Perth closed.

The chamber has played a large part in both Federal and State government movement on the issue and been an industry leader in making governments listen and communicate with the electorate.

Mr Harris said while the chamber and retailers welcomed the GST move, it could have happened earlier.

�While it will come as a panacea and a stimulus that will better position us to compete with overseas imports, there are still many issues that need to be addressed,� he said. �There are other issues like how it�s to be collected to further protect small business and these include hopefully the banks being included in part of the collection system.�

Mr Harris has been campaigning with other chamber members since his profits dived and has stayed in business on the tiniest of margins, as some items could be bought online for half his prices and delivered from overseas in just three days by post.

�It became impossible to compete,� he said.

�We were going to close.�