OPINION: Buying online vs supporting local business

BUYING local is a two-way street.

Most locals want to support local business and while most local businesses provide a fair profit margin, it is a matter of trust.

It's also about providing a level of product and service that keeps the client coming back for more.

It can also be a simple case of supply and demand dictating terms but in the world of online sales there isn't a level playing field.

I think every reasonable person with a passion for the success of this region gets the importance of a buy local focus but the global shopping village is very accessible and remarkably cheaper.

An important issue for Central Queensland businesses is that everyone is treated fairly regarding taxes and this is where online businesses can have an unfair advantage.

Families who are cash strapped are going to look for cheaper options to make their budget go further.

Those online offshore bargains will leave the local bloke out of pocket and when the money doesn't come back into a local economy, it hurts every local.

So while internet sales are providing cheaper options for battlers, they are inadvertently undermining Central Queensland business.

In 2013 Australians spent more than $25 billion online with the average online shopper spending $285 per four-week period.

The top categories were travel, entertainment, leisure, electronics, fashion, food and beverages respectively.

Almost one in four online shoppers goes into stores less often.

Those numbers will be far worse now.

The Federal Government needs to deal with the online tax advantage as a matter of urgency.

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