The Export Market Development Grants (EMDG) scheme will receive a $50 million government injection to help small and medium sized businesses reach their export potential.
Trade and Investment Minister, Andrew Robb, has introduced legislation into the Parliament to pave way for the $50 million increase and to also make the program more accessible to businesses by enhancing eligibility requirements.
Mr Robb said the government was delivering on a key election commitment, which would help businesses export to the exploding middle class markets of Asia and elsewhere.
“Now is the right time to support smaller exporters looking to capitalise on the weaker Australian dollar, including those businesses in rural and regional Australia. This is consistent with the government’s aggressive trade and investment agenda,” he said.
The announcement is good news for Australian exporters who have struggled to remain competitive in global markets due to the strong Australian dollar over the past 18 months.
The EMDG scheme provides support for eligible Australian exporters engaging in export promotional and marketing activities.
Administered by AUSTRADE it provides up to 50 percent rebate on certain exporting marketing and promotional expenditure to a maximum grant of $150,000 a year for each applicant.
Australian exporters took a major hit when the former Labor Government slashed the EMDG scheme by $25 million when in government.
Now changes to the EMDG scheme will see the threshold of expenses required before a firm becomes eligible for a grant reduced from $20,000 to $15,000 and the number of grants available to eligible companies will be increased from seven to eight.
Minister for Small Business Bruce Billson said the enhanced EMDG scheme would assist small and medium sized businesses to enter new markets and become sustainable, long-term exporters and employers.
“The scheme helps small businesses by refunding up to 50 per cent of export market expenditure. Export markets offer enormous potential for small to medium size businesses and offer new pathways to sustainable growth and job creation.
“The EMDG scheme helps bring these markets within reach while at the same time supporting innovative across the country,” Mr Billson said.