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Support local booksellers and publishers: Brown

Australian Greens Leader Bob Brown will today invite the Senate to support the Book Industry Strategy Group's recommendation for books to be exempt from GST, bringing Australia into line with most other OECD countries including source countries for many of the books bought online.

"The Australian voice needs to be heard and we need a local publishing industry to make that happen; local, independent booksellers are being squeezed and we need to help them survive; and the local printing and publishing industry is a job creator," Senator Brown said in Canberra.

"When the GST was introduced, the government resisted a push to exempt books and developed a compensation package in the form of a book industry assistance plan to try to help the industry adjust to the new tax environment. Since that package was introduced in 2000, the global marketplace has dramatically changed and will continue to evolve.

"While removing GST from books would be a good thing, it's not going to save the book-selling industry. But tackling this influence on Australia's high book prices could help, although other factors like subsidised postage on books from overseas, small production runs, a surge in demand for e-books and the high dollar are also hurting," Senator Brown said.

The report estimates the value of books sold in Australia at $2.3 billion per year and notes most OECD countries have a zero or concessional rate of sales tax on books.

Today's notice of motion:

I give notice that on the next day of sitting I shall move that -

The Senate
1. Notes the report of the Book Industry Strategy Group recommending that the GST be scrapped from domestic book sales or applied to online purchase of books from overseas; and
2. Calls on the Government to determine, this year, which is the better option for the $2.3 billion Australian book industry.



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