The head of Myer has delivered a wide-ranging criticism of the costs and uncertainties of doing business in Australia.
In comments at the company's annual general meeting in Melbourne today, chairman Paul McClintock said the Federal Government must improve productivity and flexibility to support Australia's retail sector as it comes under threat from online competitors overseas.
Mr McClintock also blamed the cost of doing business in Australia for the department store's poor performance.
"Additional taxes and charges such as the carbon tax and the flood levy on the consumer certainly impact the discretionary retail sector, and current industrial relations settings have significantly increased our costs," he said.
Mr McClintock renewed the company's attack on the $1,000 low-value threshold for charging customs duty fees and GST on goods purchased overseas.
Several retailers, including Gerry Harvey, the owner of Harvey Norman, have waged a high-profile campaign to have the threshold lowered.
And Mr McClintock says Myer is "still frustrated" by the lack of fees on overseas online sales, which is threatening the ability of Australian retailers to compete.
"If the Federal Government truly values the retail sector - and it is a huge employer of people - the impact of increasing labour costs and uncompetitive nature of online retailing must be balanced by measures to improve productivity or flexibility," Mr McClintock said.
"We look forward to the outcomes of the GST review, as well as the low import threshold taskforce delivering reforms to ensure the retail industry can continue providing economic benefits to all Australians by remaining globally competitive." At 2.15pm (AEDT), Myer shares were down nearly 1 per cent at $2.15.