REPORT: The federal government is considering a $5 charge on every parcel sent to Australia

A courier on George Street, Sydney. Peter Parks/AFP/Getty Images

The federal government is considering a new flat $5 levy on every parcel mailed into Australia from overseas, according to a report in Fairfax Media.

The fee would be an extra cost to shoppers buying cosmetics, clothing, and other items from overseas and is aimed at covering the increasing costs of biosecurity and other screening measures needed at the border.

Those costs have been accelerating with the increase in parcels flowing into the country.

It will be in addition to the GST charges on small items which kick in from July 1.

The Fairfax Media report suggests the proposal is in advanced stages and says the Department of Home Affairs, “is considering ways to balance the bio-security budget, which is under pressure by the explosion in small parcels entering Australia from overseas retailers. Some 38.7 million parcels worth under $1000 each were imported to Australia last financial year – a 22 per cent increase on the previous 12 months.

“The department predicts the number of low value consignments entering the country will increase by a further by 31 per cent over the next four years, compared with only 10 per cent expected growth in high value consignments,” the report says.

Industry representatives are concerned the levy could lead to retaliatory taxes from other nations on Australian goods being mailed over their borders.

There’s more at The Age >>