It's called Perth. Also Darwin, Broome, Far North Queensland and Hobart.
Australia is a big country - as large in land mass as the continental USA. Our eastern seaboard is heavily populated and also the location of our major publishers and their warehouses. There are no warehouses in Western Australia, the Northern Territory, Tasmania or Far North Queensland. Yet books that are released in Sydney and Melbourne on, say, 1 August still need to be available in these other places - and rural and regional centres - on that same publication day. Usually the only way to get the books to those places on time is by aeroplane. Aeroplanes, obviously, cost more than the trucks that are taking the books from the warehouses to Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide and Brisbane. The cost of those aeroplanes is factored into the recommended retail price of each book you buy.
When I mentioned this to someone recently she asked why people in Perth couldn't just pay more for their books - and it wasn't because this person presumed that everyone in Perth has Mining Money. It was her reaction to living in Sydney and having to pay what she considered to be too high a price for books. Well, yes, they do seem expensive. And it's not just because they have to get to Perth.
While we have the land mass of the USA we have, of course, a far smaller population than the USA. Therefore we don't enjoy the economies of scale that arise from shipping books to ten times as many people over the same area. We have a small population for such a big place. If we were shipping 10 000 copies of each book to Perth instead of 1000, economies of scale dictate that we'd be paying less for each copy of that book. But we're not.
Yes, the GST is a factor in the price of books. These freight costs are also a factor. And no doubt you're going to say, 'Well, then, ebooks can be so much cheaper!' Yes, they can be cheaper but publishers are still trying to work out how they can stomach dropping a book's price from $35 for a paper copy to something drastically less for an electronic copy and still keep their shareholders happy. It's a process. We're in the middle of it. Publishers shouldn't be shouted at, because from what I can tell they're genuinely trying to work out a way forwards. And we'll get there in the end - the market will force a solution if the industry can't come up with one on its own.