You're right that the Australian market isn't used to paying higher prices for Any Seat, but NO market is used to paying THAT high of a price... I was quoted > 200,000 points for a 3,000 mile long flight (about the same as PER-AKL). Instead I transferred points to Northwest, which gave me the seat for only 25,000 points -- admittedly a fantastic deal, most other airlines would charge something like 50k or 60k. They also had full availability on every flight every day.
Airlines in the US that offer Any Seat availability charge around double the normal amount. But > 200k is just silly for that flight
Points earning on Virgin is completely different, to say, earning points on QFF. Most places will give you 1 point/dollar spent, or 1 point/mile flown. If Virgin is handing out 5/6/7 points/dollar spent, then each point is worth about 1/5 compared to another scheme. So, redemptions will cost a correspondingly greater amount of points.