Australians were at the mercy of global online retailers for now, which is the main reason that digital contents and products marketed locally carry more premium price when compared to offshore online stores, a new government submission said.
But the situation could soon change without the government lifting a finger, it added.
Online movies and music and digital downloads cost twice as much because the prevailing prices offered by retailers in Australia were dictated upon by product manufacturers, according to the submission filed by the Department of Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy to Parliamentary inquiry on the matter.
"In some cases it appears likely that decisions by international distributors are the primary causes of price differences between Australia and other markets," the submission was reported by Business Day as saying on Friday.
The ongoing inquiry also sought answers from Microsoft to air its side on why its products were more expensive when purchased in and from Australia.
The company replied that its existing price rates in Australia were meant to support its continued existence in the local market, which can only be assured by offering price levels that will return its investments.
Microsoft also pointed to its local operating costs as key influences for the product rates that Aussie consumers encounter.
Overall, tech firms that submitted their submissions have agreed that operating a business in Australia requires higher overheads as against to other markets, the ministry submission said.
It also admitted that despite the lower prices found on overseas sites, international distributors employ special softwares that identify Australian-issued credit cards and prevent them from completing a transaction.
"It is apparent that many consumers consider these price differences to be unfair or unjust, and will go to some lengths to avoid paying extra compared to consumers in other markets," the government submission said.
Eventually, Aussie consumers will find a way to circumvent the restrictions, the department said, and get a better deal than what were being officially offered by legitimate distributors in Australia.
While the present set up was far from being ideal, the government submission argued against federal intervention as it is convinced that market forces will prevail in the end.
One possible scenario is Aussie buyers would opt to buy pirated products that in the long-run could hurt legitimate producers.
The department said such situation could force tech firms to bring their prices closer to what is offered in other countries.
The government submission is optimistic that gradually, purchases by Aussies from iTunes and other online retail sites would be reduced as more options become available to local shoppers.
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