EMDG scheme reformed to help Aussie exporters go global
Following an independent review of financial assistance for small and medium enterprise exporters, the Australian Government is backing Australian businesses to grow their exporters and create jobs through reforms to the Export Market Development Grants (EMDG) scheme.
The EMDG scheme is a financial assistance program to help aspiring and current exporters increase their marketing and promotional activities in international markets. In 2019, over 4000 small and medium enterprises accessed the EMDG scheme, employing almost 69,000 Australians and generating exports worth $3.7 billion. Trade Minister Simon Birmingham said better assisting Australian exporters to enter new markets or expand their presence in existing markets is critical to boosting export activity and supporting Australia’s economic recovery from COVID-19.
Birmingham acknowledged that COVID-19 has presented new hurdles for exporters, including the disruption to supply chains and loss of markets. “Maximising support to Australian businesses as they look to go global or expand their overseas footprint will be vital to continue growing the number of Australian exporters and the total value of Australian exports into the future, which will help create more jobs,” said Birmingham.
The government commissioned the independent review into the administration of the EMDG scheme in October 2019. It was led by Anna Fisher, co-owner of Zontes Footstep, who was assisted by Australia Post CEO Christine Holgate and Aspen Medical CEO Bruce Armstrong. The government accepted all 10 recommendations from the review, which centred on cutting red tape, increasing awareness of the scheme and giving exporters more funding certainty.
While the review found many businesses were positive about the EMDG scheme, it also revealed that the current reimbursement model provided a lack of funding certainty and that administrative processes were too complex. Birmingham said that by shifting from a reimbursement model to a grants scheme, eligible exporters will receive funding closer to when they incur costs, giving more confidence that EMDG funding will boost their international marketing and promotional activities.
“At the same time, simplifying application processes and reducing the administrative burden on exporters whilst still maintaining integrity in the scheme will allow recipients to focus on boosting export activities and ensure maximum return on taxpayers’ investment,” said Birmingham
Legislation to give effect to these changes to the EMDG scheme will be introduced into parliament later this year, with the scheme intended to commence on 1 July 2021. Consultations on scheme design and program rules will occur prior to changes coming into effect.
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