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Coalition to restore support for Australian exporters.

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Media Contact Paul Chamberlin mob 0419 233 989 ph 02 6277 4482

3 August 2010

Coalition to restore support for Australian exporters

A Coalition government will increase funding available to the Export Market Development Grants scheme, restoring some of the support for exporters that Gillard Labor has taken away.

The Shadow Minister for Trade, Warren Truss, announced today that the Coalition will increase the cap on the Export Market Development Grants scheme to $200 million, effective from 1 July 2011.

This will be $50 million above the level set by the Labor government, Mr Truss said as he released the Coalition’s trade policy at an Australian Institute of Export event in Brisbane.

“Labor has treated exporters with disdain,” Mr Truss said.

“Not content with subjecting them to giant new taxes, it has slashed payments to exporters who are reimbursed under the EMDG scheme for the cost of specific export promotion activity.

“When Simon Crean was shifted sideways, the portfolio of Trade was subsumed into Stephen Smith’s Foreign Affairs portfolio. This demonstrates the low priority that Labor gives to our vital trading relationships.

“Mr Smith’s first act as Trade Minister was to cut the first tranche payment under EMDG to $27,500, down from $50,000 in 2009-10 and $70,000 when the Coalition left office.

“This is no way to treat hard-working exporters who faithfully spent money on promotion in emerging markets with the full expectation that legitimate expenses would be reimbursed.

“It just makes life tougher for about 5100 exporters, many of whom are small to medium sized exporters.

“The Coalition has responded and will increase the EMDG cap to $200 million a year from 1 July 2011.

“In government, the Coalition will also examine the merits of removing the caps altogether. Provided payments can be kept within reasonable bounds, a cap makes little sense and simply adds unnecessary bureaucracy and administrative cost.

“At the last election Labor committed to an expansion of eligibility for EMDG, without providing any additional funding. After that scheme blew the budget, Labor legislated to reverse its own changes - and blew the budget again.

“The Coalition understands that trade is the key engine of growth for Australia. It creates new jobs, improves living standards, and ensures our future as a prosperous nation,” Mr Truss said.