14 June 2017

The Parliament has no choice but to step in and give the affected stakeholders, the Government and Parliament another chance to fix Scott Morrisons mishandling of the GST Low Value Threshold legislation.

Federal Labor today flagged it will move amendments in the Senate that delay the commencement of the legislation by 12 months, while requiring the Productivity Commission conduct a short inquiry on implementation and other GST collection models, giving the Government and Parliament the opportunity to consider legislative amendments well before the new 1 July 2018 start date.

Federal Labor has expressed in-principle support for applying GST to parcels valued below $1,000 for quite some time now. Its this context which makes the Treasurers mishandling of this policy matter all the more disappointing.

The Senate Economics Legislation Committee report detailed a litany of complaints and concern with everything ranging from the competence of Government consultations, the lack of a Regulatory Impact Statement, through to the low forecast compliance rates and concern with the viability of the Governments preferred vendor-based model.

There was clearly a level of bipartisan concern with this legislation, with even Government senators formally recommending a 12 month delay in the commencement of the legislation.

The Productivity Commission is well acquainted with the GST Low Value Threshold and is well placed to hold a short inquiry into implementation concerns around the current model and to examine alternative GST collection models.

A Productivity Commission inquiry will allow stakeholders an opportunity for an independent hearing into their concerns and the merits or otherwise of other collection models.

It is important that the Parliament consider and pass this legislation with Labors amendments. Its important for certainty for Australian retailers in search of a level playing field with offshore retailers, for States and Territories whove budgeted for the additional GST dollars, and for affected stakeholders who will have a final opportunity for an independent hearing into sensible amendments to the GST collection regime ahead of a 1 July 2018 start-date.