Export program under review

The Australian federal government will conduct a review into the Export Market Development Grants (EMDG) to grow the total value of Australian exports.

Targeted at SMEs, the grants provide financial assistance to help businesses that currently export and those that hope to do so.

Through the review, the effectiveness of the grants in the current form will be assessed to see whether they can play a greater role in boosting export activity, said Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment, Simon Birmingham.

“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,” he said.

In the 2019-2020 budget, funding for the scheme was increased by $60 million, however the scheme has not undergone significant reform in over 40 years, according to Austrade.

According to Birmingham, Australian businesses that export hire 23 per cent more staff, pay 11 per cent higher wages, and have 13 per cent higher labour productivity than non-exporters. The Minister called for those with experience of the program to share their thoughts on the scheme.

“We want hear from exporters, peak bodies and industry groups from around Australia about how the EMDG scheme can better help Australian businesses to go global and become long-term sustainable exporters.”

Consultation will be carried out through face-to-face meetings, webinars, and online submissions. A report will be finalised by March 2020. Austrade will also commission research on what it takes to be a successful exporter as part of the review.