OK, I've had the prices into Sydney broken down for you so you can see where all this money is going.
Australian Quarantine direction is $189 , Customs inspection fee is $88.00 and there is a Customs entry fee of $150, so there is $427.00 just there alone. Of course the forwarder would still need to get their slice as well for handling the paperwork, so there just doesn't look to be any cheaper way around that price unfortunately.
That $427 in fees outlined above would also be valid on a load in excess of 1K as well of course, with the added cost of GST to be considered. Now I'm not saying it wouldn't be cheaper to import more, it could well be, even with the GST and the fact that you will still be charged the above fees in clearing the load yourself. You may be able to get a better price per item in buying in a larger volume to counter balance all of that.
Long and the short of it, there are going to be import related costs however you do it, just can't get around those unfortunately.