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Long term impact of a tax on books is being ignored by the government and the democrats

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The Australian Society of Authors, the Australian Booksellers Association, the Australian Publishers Association and the Printing Industries Association of Australia remain united in their ongoing opposition to a GST on books.

“We have not moved from our position on the proposed tax on books. The GST will result in a decline in demand for books and in job losses across all sectors.”

This position was reiterated to representatives of the Coalition Government, the Democrats and the Opposition during meetings held in Canberra yesterday.

In a joint statement issued today, the industry group said “while the Democrats are negotiating in good faith about a short-term “compensation" package, our concerns about the long-term impact of the proposed tax have not been addressed at all.

“The Australian public should not be comforted by talk of so-called compensation. Book prices will rise no matter what short-term initiatives are pursued. The Australian public should not be misled by claims that the majority of books are going to be cheaper. This is just not true. The majority of books

are purchased by individuals who will pay more for those books.”

“We call on the Democrats to rethink their support for the tax on books. It is not too late to pull it out of the package and for the issue to be given the attention it deserves. The net benefit to government of $26.4 million is nothing compared with the money that will have to be spent offsetting the longĀ­ term impact of this tax in the community, across the education sector and in the book industry. The economic arguments just don’t add up.”

“The other serious impact will be in areas of literacy, education and reading. It makes no economic sense for money to be pumped into literacy programs once the damage has been done. The evidence we gave to the Senate Committees was very clear. It alarms us that no attention has been giverrto these and other issues which will affect the whole Australian community."

Negotiations on the terms and details of the industry compensation package are continuing. The book industry is also waiting written confirmation from the government that this money is indeed guaranteed for four years. “We do not want to find that it disappears from future budget allocations".

The book industry will continue to campaign for no tax on books.

For further information and interviews, please contact: 23 June 1999

l.ibby Gleeson Mary Dalmau Sue Blackwell Trevor Hone

C hair-A S A President — ABA Exec. Director - APA President — PLAA

A joint statement from, the Australian Book Industry

p (02) 9560 9146 m 0413 138 150 m 0413 752 737 m 0418 347 396