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Australian apparel retailers warn of further job losses
Dec '11
Apparel retailers in Australia have warned that increasing number of job losses in the sector would continue till the Federal Government changes its mind and reduces the tax exemption limit for imported goods.

Retailers in Australia experienced a fresh blow when the Productivity Commission submitted its final report stating that it would prove to be expensive for the Government to subject goods below AUD 1000 bought overseas to tax, as the Government is likely to spend more money tracking the tax payment than what it would actually obtain in collection.

The Commission, which submitted its report after a nine-month inquiry, stated that if the Government lowers its tax-free threshold to AUD 100 as sought by the retailers, it would have to bear a cost of AUD 1.2 billion to collect a tax of AUD 500 million.

Assistant Treasurer Bill Shorten, who presented the Commission's report, declared that a new taskforce would be constituted to investigate if the tax collection could be done more effectively. However, he failed to extend any assurance to lower the tax applicability limit even in the event of the taskforce's success.

The apparel retail lobby claimed that the six months time sought for the taskforce to conduct the study was too long as many businesses are already on the verge of collapse.

Australian Retailers Association said the retailers are seeking immediate decision and cannot see it left undecided for next six months as the number of distressed retailers at present is the highest in past 30 years.

National Retail Association warned that there is a risk of 50,000 jobs in the country, as retail enterprises have either downsized or are in the process of downsizing their operations. Some of them are even shifting their production base abroad, the association said.

Australian National Retailers Association (ANRA) welcomed the Productivity Commission's report, but stated that the Commission has failed to correctly value the impact of online shopping, particularly on the unrestricted spending sector.

ANRA stated that the retailers are very disheartened as they do not see any solution to the issue coming their way in the near future.

Fibre2fashion News Desk - India

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