Government Relations

Australian Music Association has been a key participant in the representation of issues concerning government and policy from being key in the development of the National Review of School Music Education at Federal level, to various such inquiries at State level. The AMA is active in representing its members where effective government relations are required on policy and legislative issues. Our current work is as follows;

Lower Value Threshold for GST on Imports

May 2015

The Association’s submission to Federal Government Tax Review process can be viewed at this link. – Federal Government Submission Tax Review May 28 2015

Submissions are accepted to June 1, 2015 and members are encouraged to add their voice to campaign by making one themselves via the Better Tax Website

CERT III & IV Musical Instrument Making & Repair Course Funded by State Government

April 2015

The association has successfully led an industry lobby for the reinstatement of Cert III & IV qualifications in Musical Instrument Making and Repair. At the federal level , Manufacturing Skills Australia (MSA) withdrew support last year citing there was no industry demand for these qualifications nationally.  Victorian based manufacturers, makers and wholesalers however, expressed grave concern at the potential loss to the industry at a meeting with federal and state government representatives.  After talks with state government, NCAT and industry, MSA handed the qualification to the Higher Education and Skills Group (HESG) within the Victorian Government’s Department of Education & Training to use the musical instrument making units of competency for the purpose of developing an accredited course

Industry representatives, along with our CEO chairing the task force are working with the government to design a course that can become a national qualification and be applied to various instrument categories. The aim is to provide a broader qualification with electives in other industry segments such as brass and wind, percussion and strings which will enhance an individual’s employment opportunities within the industry.

Following submissions by the association regarding the importance of a Cert IV level qualification at minimum, the HESG agreed to fund the development of a qualification at this level.

This is great news for manufacturers, wholesalers and technicians who provide employment but also a great way for retail staff to improve their skills base and value add for employers.

Lower Value Threshold for GST on Imports –

The low value threshold (LVT) is a part of the GST laws that enables Australian citizens to purchase goods from foreign companies (usually online) without having to pay GST on those goods, if those goods are worth less than $1,000.

The LVT provides foreign companies with an unfair advantage over Australian companies. As they don’t have to charge 10 per cent GST, foreign companies can offer their goods at a lower price than their Australian competitors.

This is having a direct impact on AMA members’ businesses.

The AMA is part of an effort to level the playing field for Australian retailers by having this threshold lowered by the government.

LVT Advocacy Kit

The association has prepared an Advocacy Kit for members who are willing to write a letter and/or request a meeting with their local Federal MP to champion the cause of reducing the threshold on low value items that are imported into Australia. The kit includes standard letters for your store letterhead which can be amended to suit, to Federal MP’s, as well as State Treasurers, Fact Sheets, and we can advise you of you parliamentary contacts if you require assistance.

Should you wish to join the effort to create a more level playing field for our industry.  Please indicate your interest by contacting Rob Walker at rob.walker@australianmusic.asn.au – we will contact you.

So far, individuals, on behalf of their businesses have made representations to their local members and state treasurers. Responses have provided an insight into the issue and slowly, governments are recognising the affect that this is having on small business.

Brendan Callinan, MD of Roland Corporation sat down with Bronwyn Bishop, his local federal member. She in turn requested a response from the Minister for Small Business, Bruce Bilson, extracts of which appear below;

” I appreciate Mr Callinan’s concern, in relation to the current tax treatment of goods sourced from overseas and I acknowledge the importance of the issue to small business. Indeed small businesses across the country have been proactive in raising the profile of the low value threshold and lobbying for change”

“The Productivity Commission in 2012 recognised the case for significantly lowering the threshold, but recommended it be lowered when it was cost effective to do so. The Government has now received the business case and possible implementation plans for reform to low value parcel which the Taskforce recommended be undertaken”.

Any changes require the States and Territories to agree. Up to September 19, agreement has not been reached on a workable approach to the issue and the Minister advises that “it is not open to the government to act unilaterally to address the issue.”

Grahama Hoskins of Concept Music, WA received a similar response from Mr Bilson

This disagreement principally comes from the Western Australian Treasurer, Dr Mike Nahan, which in response to a letter from the AMA, stated in part;

“The WA government understands your concerns, however it considers fundamental reform to the way GST is distributed to the states to be the priority.”

Western Australia is also concerned at possible consumer welfare losses that would result from a lowering of the threshold.”

Dr Nahan argues that, delays and handling costs would rise if the process was not handled efficiently, this despite the business case and implementation plan being completed.

By contrast the Victorian Treasurer Hon.Michael O’Brien MP responded to representations from Rob Henneman of Australasian Music Supplies and the AMA;

“Victoria supports investigating proposals to lower the threshold at which GST is payable on imports, having regard to the consequences for any administration costs that any such change may bring. The $1 000 threshold is relatively high by international standards and the potential for deliberate avoidance is a concern for the Iong-term integrity of the tax system”.

We think the pendulum is beginning to swing, with further opportunity for change possibly coming in the federal government’s White Paper on tax reform. This Tax White Paper will give states and territories an opportunity to raise the issue once more and also will seek  public comment.

Let’s maintain our unity on this issue – it is hurting small business. Go back to the advocacy pack above, it contains all the information you need to make a difference.

December 31, 2014 Approaches – Your Microphone Might Not Work. Click here for full info.

Critical date passes on 1 January, 2014 regarding the sale of wireless devices.

From 1 January 2014, it is illegal for suppliers to import or manufacture wireless microphones that operate in the 694 – 820MHz frequency range. A fact sheet for suppliers (inc retailers) can be viewed here – http://www.acma.gov.au/Industry/Suppliers/A-Type-of-equipment/WirelessMicrophones/wireless-audio-transmitters-suppliers

Any stock still held in the channel requires a label affixed to the box that says this devices is sold on the understanding that it cannot be used after December 31st 2014

Any one selling an uncompliant device must affix this label to the product – the wording of the label and regulations covering it can be found here – http://www.acma.gov.au/Industry/Suppliers/A-Type-of-equipment/WirelessMicrophones/suppliers-of-wireless-mics-faq

AMA member’s and the industry’s attention is drawn to the above regulations.

November 2013

Victorian Review of Music Education makes Key Recommendations to State Government

Music Education organisations have come together to welcome the findings of the Inquiry into the extent, benefits and potential of music education in Victorian schools . And, in particular, the recognition by the Victorian Parliament that,  “music education should be an essential part of every young person’s education” and that “music plays and important role in learning, in personal and societal development and, as an economic contributor to this state”.

The Australian Music Association joins in requesting that the work of the Committee now be supported by the Napthine Government and that the recommendations that require some additional expenditure, including:

•  Supporting schools in establishing music programs (Rec 13),

•  Delivering professional learning teachers in both primary and secondary schools and across the state (Rec 9, 11 and 12) and;

•  Ensuring schools have adequate music facilities and equipment (Rec 3)

are supported with additional funding and that those funds become available as a result of the 2014 budget and be carried through for the forward estimates until at least 2018.

Collectively we call on the Victorian Education Minister, Martin Dixon and the Premier, Denis Napthine, on behalf of students, teachers and school communities to adopt these recommendations and begin to action them during the 2014 school year.  Read more

Read the Full Report

Read the Media Reports [1 (Herald Sun): Online or Download PDF 28kB] [2 (Herald Sun): Online or Download PDF 98kB] [3 (The Age): Online or Download PDF 184kB]

Read the Full Joint Media Release