e-Customs September News

Australian Dollar soaring, Amazon Australia rumoured to be launching this year, GST on imports delayed, and a crackdown on drones in SA. 

 

Australian Dollar to hit $0.85 in 2018. 
A continued slide in the greenback could see the Australian dollar push as high as US85¢ by the end of next year, analysts at Commonwealth Bank say.

The bullish call coincides with a fresh push in the local currency towards US80¢ on Wednesday following a much stronger than expected construction data for the June quarter.

The soaring Australian dollar has pushed through the US81c mark for the first time since January 2015 after climbing more than a cent against the greenback in less than a day. Whilst good news for Aussie shoppers and travellers, the news isn’t all that good for some exporters, whose goods will now cost international buyers more.

 

GST on imports worth less $1000 delayed
A proposed GST amendment which will see GST extended to all goods bought overseas, has been delayed for another year. Parliament on Monday voted in favour of delaying the introduction of Treasury Laws Amendment (GST Low Value Goods) Bill 2017 until July 1, 2018.

The government agreed to implement the tax in last year’s budget, claiming the move would level the playing field for small businesses and generate an extra $300 million in revenue over four years. The GST changes to online goods were originally to be implemented this year, however, an amendment pushed through by Labor has given Australian shoppers a 12-month reprieve.

The delay is a win for international online giants but has angered local retailers, who believe they are being put at a disadvantage. Gerry Harvey, chairman of  Harvey Norman, argued the change was the result of clever lobbying by overseas internet retailers, who talked Australian politicians into delaying the change.

“If a product is $100 or $1000 in a shop in Australia you put 10 per cent GST on it. If the product is the same price and is imported from overseas you don’t put any GST on it. So, it’s just a subsidy straight away to an offshore retailer. How anyone can say that’s a good idea is beyond me” he said.

For the most part, the tax will be collected via the international seller. However, the government has outlined scenarios where the tax will be the responsibility of the operator. Needless to say, there’s still a lot of confusion about precisely how the tax will be collected.

It’s not all bad news though, the delay gives you an extra 12 months to stock on your favourite goodies from overseas!

 

Amazon Australia could launch in October
Retailers in Australia have been anticipating the arrival of Amazon Australia since April, but it now appears the US e-commerce giant is poised to launch as early as next month, giving it time to exploit the pre-Christmas sales boom. 
That is according to new analysis from investment bank Citi in a note to clients, which said Amazon Australia has already placed its first orders with suppliers.

The arrival of Amazon to Australia is likely to have a big impact on other online retailers and if they are not competitive they could perish, according to retail experts.

The giant online retailer is set to take a $12 billion share of Australia’s retail trade over the next decade. Amazon Australia is expected to target the gift market initially, the analysts said, and the retail sectors most likely to feel its impact are food, alcohol, furniture, hardware and auto. The US retail giant is then expected to turn its attention to electronics, department stores, leisure, clothing and footwear.

 

Drone crackdown targets prison smuggling.  
Drones used to smuggle drugs and other contraband into South Australian prisons are in the sights of the State Government, which is considering innovative new measures to combat the growing threat.

This includes cutting edge radar and devices capable of disabling drones found to be breaching restricted airspace.Flying a drone in or around state prisons will also be made illegal under a toughening-up of the Correctional Services Act. Those found guilty will face hefty fines and up to two years behind bars. Drones are increasingly being used as a method of sneaking in contraband into prisons overseas and in Australia.

The Victorian Government moved this year to introduce “no-fly zones” over state prisons after a 28-year-old man was charged with attempting to smuggle drugs into a Melbourne jail in 2014.A drone was also detected in December 2015 hovering over New South Wales’s most secure prison, the Goulburn Supermax, sparking calls for a similar ban. To tackle the use of mobile phones, the department is investigating the use of mobile phone jamming technology

 

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