That's according to the findings of a 12-month parliamentary inquiry into IT Pricing in Australia, conducted by The House of Representatives Infrastructure and Communications Committee, released today.
Big tech companies like Apple, Microsoft and Dell are charging up to 50% more for products like iTunes, PC's and software like Windows 7, than consumers in the US and elsewhere.
Higher prices were attributed to Australia's geographical remoteness and traditional weakness of the dollar.
When it comes to digitally delivered content, "the Committee concluded that many IT products are more expensive in Australia because of regional pricing strategies implemented by major vendors and copyright holders."
"The committee found that big IT companies and copyright holders charge Australians, on average, an extra 50 per cent, a practice consumers call the 'Australia Tax,'" said Committee chair Nick Champion MP.
The IT inquiry quizzed senior execs from Apple, Microsoft and Adobe, all of who denied price gouging, and used excuses including copyright issues, 'channel partners', higher business costs, taxes in Australia, for the massive price discrepancies.
However, these excuses didn't wash.
"In many cases prices are significantly higher than what might be expected as a consequence of any costs arising from delivery in the Australian market," the parliamentary report stated.
The Blame Game
The report noted Microsoft Managing Director, Pip Marlow, sought to attribute some of the higher prices to locally-based channel partners, which includes the likes of Harvey Norman or JB Hi-Fi.
"Microsoft provides guidance on recommended retail pricing. Microsoft does not, however, set the final 'to-the-customer' price," she told the Inquiry earlier this year.
"The channel and value-added partners who deliver those products to customers ultimately determine retail pricing."
Some members of Australian Information Industry Association, which includes many big tech names, told the Inquiry they do not set the retail price of their products, locally.
"These are set through their partner channel and hence are also influenced by channel specific market factors and cost pressures," the report noted.
The Committee, comprising of Federal MP's, also condemned "geo blocking" practiced by giants including Apple, Adobe, which permit different prices in different markets.
These "erected virtual barriers" are preventing Aussie consumers from comparing prices and purchasing online, via the "use of internet addresses, credit card numbers to block internet sales."
"In the case of IT hardware, geoblocking may be the result of exclusive distribution agreements" with local companies.