Austrade gives industry a leg up

Changes to the Export Market Development Grant (EMDG) scheme from July 1 spell good news for the industry, according to an expert in the field.Export Grant Consultant Mark Turnbull said Austrade has advised the changes announced as part of the May 2008 Federal Budget should be passed through parliament by June 30 and apply for the next financial year.
The changes include increasing the total funding available for 2008/2009 applications to $190 million and the maximum grant to $200,000. The ceiling on annual sales turnover for eligible companies will rise from $30 million to $50 million, while the minimum expenses threshold will be reduced from $15,000 to $10,000, bringing many smaller businesses into the scheme. The number of grants available per business per annum will also increase from seven to eight.
However, Turnbull said requests to the Minister for Trade to increase the funding available for 2006/2007 applications have been ignored. It is expected $183 million in claims will be approved with only $143 million available to meet them, creating a shortfall of $40 million.
Turnbull said the gap means applicants with claims over $70,000 will probably only receive around 10 cents in the dollar for second tranche payments.
He also predicted serious problems for 2007/2008 as the $150.4 million funding allocated will again prove insufficient. The EMDG scheme is being reviewed by the Mortimer Enquiry, due to report by August 31 2008, but Turnbull warned: “The prospects
of the Government increasing funding for 2007/2008 are not looking good.”

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