Australian Govt. calls for public submissions into tech pricing gap

Inquiry into price differentiation in tech and games market in Australia is now calling for public submissions.

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The Australian government inquiry into high game and tech prices in Australia is now calling for public submissions.

The Australian government is set to investigate the high game prices issue.
The Australian government is set to investigate the high game prices issue.

The inquiry was announced last month by Australian Federal Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy Stephen Conroy. It will focus on why Australian consumers are paying more for tech products and video games, by seeking public submissions from both consumers and companies, with the aim of providing the government with possible legal options to deal with the issue.

The inquiry will be conducted by the House of Representatives' Standing Committee on Infrastructure and Communications and will be chaired by Nick Champion.

"Australians are often forced to pay more for IT hardware and software than consumers in overseas markets," Champion said in a statement today. "The Committee's inquiry aims to determine the extent of these IT price differences and examine the possibility of limiting their impact on Australian consumers, businesses and governments."

The Committee will look into the cost of IT hardware and software, including games and consoles, downloaded music, e-books, and professional software to determine whether a difference in prices exists between products sold in Australia, over the Internet, or in retail outlets, as compared to markets in the US, UK, and Asia-Pacific.

The inquiry will seek to establish what those differences are, why they exist, the impact on Australian businesses and consumers, and actions to help address the differences that disadvantage Australian consumers.

"The fact that video games are mentioned in the terms of reference indicates that the Australian government has listened to concerns from the Australian public, regarding the high cost of games in this market," Labor MP and federal member for Chifley Ed Husic told GameSpot AU.

Husic was responsible for bringing the issue to parliament, writing a letter to Conroy, in March this year, to ask for a parliamentary inquiry into high game and tech prices in Australia.

Any interested individuals or businesses are invited to submit to the committee, addressing one or more of these concerns. The deadline for submissions is Friday, July 6, 2012.

Details and submission guidelines can be found here.

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