Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment, Senator the Hon Simon Birmingham, has announced that Ms Anna Fisher (Co-Owner, Zonte’s Footstep) will undertake a review of the Export Market Development Grants (EMDG) scheme and Australian Government financial assistance to small and medium enterprise (SME) exporters.
The EMDG scheme is a key Government financial assistance program to help aspiring and current exporters grow their business overseas. In 2018 over 3,700 SMEs accessed the scheme.
The review will take a broad approach and examine the most effective and efficient way the Government can best provide financial assistance to SME exporters to promote their products and services overseas and enter new export markets.
This is a key pillar in implementing the Government’s agenda to increase the number of exporters by 10,000 over the next three years and create an additional 250,000 trade-related jobs over the next five years.
While the Government boosted the EMDG scheme by $60 million in the 2019-20 budget, the scheme has not seen significant reform in over 40 years.
The review will consider how the Government can make it easier and simpler for businesses to access support, consistent with the Government’s commitment to streamline service delivery.
Minister Birmingham said the benefits of encouraging more export activity are widespread, with Australian businesses that export, on average, hiring 23 per cent more staff, paying 11 per cent higher wages and having labour productivity 13 per cent higher than non-exporters.
“The EMDG scheme has shown itself to be a helpful program for exporters to expand into international markets, develop brand recognition overseas and form relationships with potential customers. However, like every program, we must ensure we are getting maximum return on taxpayers investment.”
“This review will help to ensure that EMDG grants play the biggest possible role possible in boosting export activity and creating more jobs,” he said.
The review will seek the views of exporters and any interested parties through a series of face‑to‑face consultations around Australia, webinars and calls for online written submissions, commencing in October 2019.
As part of the review, Austrade will also commission research to explore the impact financial assistance can have on exporters and what it takes to be a successful exporter.
A report will be provided to the Government by March 2020.