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Wednesday, 4 November 1992
Page: 2612


Mr MARTIN (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade) (8.40 p.m.) —I move:

  That the Bill be now read a second time.

In his Budget statement to this House dated 18 August the Treasurer (Mr Dawkins) announced that the export market development grants scheme, the EMDG scheme, was to be extended, effective from 1 July 1992. This Bill gives effect to the new market changes announced in the media release of the Minister for Trade and Overseas Development (Mr Kerin) dated 18 August.

  Since the introduction of amended legislation, effective 1 July 1990, exporters have generally been limited to a maximum of eight EMD grants. This limitation arose from the recommendations of the 1989 Committee for Review of Export Market Development Assistance, known as the Hughes Committee, which suggested, amongst other things, that exporters place less emphasis on EMDG assistance, with fewer firms pushing into new markets, after having received eight grants.

  With the exception of approved bodies and approved trading houses, the eight grant cut-off has been a total and final exclusion from the scheme, regardless of the merits of future market prospects and products.

  This change to the scheme, along with others, resulted in a significant reduction in the number of exporters with access to EMDG. Quite a number of those firms excluded clearly do have a lot to offer by way of new marketing initiatives. These may be existing product to a market which previously had not been considered, or a completely new product. Whilst Austrade does administer other financial assistance schemes which cover specific initiatives of exporters, such as the innovative agricultural marketing program and the international trade enhancement scheme, these schemes are either limited to particular industries, or only cater for larger projects and initiatives.

  As an open access scheme catering to small to medium exporters, EMDG is an ideal vehicle to assist new marketing initiatives of the majority of exporters and potential exporters.

  This Bill provides new market EMDG access beyond eight grant years for exporters who have not in the past three years achieved export earnings in respect of goods, services, industrial property rights or know-how, in that particular market, of greater than $300,000. This threshold is increased to $1m in the case of a limited number of specified larger scale development project service activities. This will be the definition of a new market, and exporters will have access to that new market for up to three years. To give full potential to this facility there will not be a limitation to the number of new markets in which an exporter may engage.

  It is estimated that in excess of 400 exporters currently have the potential to take up this new market initiative. I commend this Bill to honourable members, and I present the explanatory memorandum to this Bill.

Financial Impact Statement

  The projected costing of this amendment is $20m in 1993-94, $25m in 1994-95, and $30m in 1995-96.

  It is estimated that in excess of 400 exporters currently have the potential to take up this `new market' initiative.

  Debate (on motion by Mr Peacock) adjourned.