The head of the parliamentary inquiry into the so-called "Australia tax" on hardware and software sold locally has today outlined the scope of its investigation in its terms of reference.
(Australian Coins and Notes Macro image by Martin Howard, CC BY 2.0)
The inquiry, announced last month by Senator Stephen Conroy, looks to tackle the price disparity between hardware and software sold in Australia and that sold internationally.
The Standing Committee on Infrastructure and Communications, under the eye of committee chair Nick Champion, has today been asked to:
Investigate whether a difference in prices exists between IT hardware and software products, including computer games, consoles, ebooks, music and videos sold in Australia over the internet or in retail outlets, as compared to markets in the US, the UK and Asia Pacific
Establish what those differences are
Determine why those differences exist
Establish what the impacts of these differences might be on Australian businesses, governments and households
Determine what actions might be taken to help address any differences that operate to the disadvantage of Australian consumers.
Champion today said in a statement that Australians are often slugged more for technology. The inquiry will look at ways of limiting the hit on locals' wallets.
The inquiry was begun by federal MP for Chifley, Ed Husic, who has campaigned against IT giants charging extra to Australians for some time. Husic raised the issue in parliament last year, slamming vendors for their price-gouging tactics.
"When we're paying up to 80 per cent more for software, compared to US or UK customers, despite strengthened purchasing power that flows from a historically high Aussie dollar, you know something doesn't add up," Husic said last year.
At the announcement of the inquiry into the price disparity in April, some analysts remarked that vendors would be hard pressed to change their price-gouging ways.
The committee will take public submissions starting today until 6 July.