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Tax reform to benefit Australian exporters by over $3.5B.

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Media release  Australian Minister for Trade, Mark Vaile

9 May 2000

Tax reform to Benefit Australian Exporters by Over $3.5B


Trade Minister, Mark Vaile, said the Federal Budget confirmed the benefits that Australia’s exporters would receive from the Government’s tax reforms.

"The Budget covers the first year of the New Tax System and delivers on the Government’s commitment to cut the costs of Australia’s exporters, making them more competitive internationally. The abolition of

Wholesale Sales Tax, the removal of a range of indirect State taxes and the reform of fuel excises will provide savings of more than $3.5 billion a year to Australian exporters."

Mr Vaile said exporters would also be big winners from the Government’s reforms to business taxation.

"The reduction in the company tax rate to 34% for the 2000-01 income tax year and to 30% thereafter, together with the reforms to capital gains tax, will further boost the international competitiveness of our exporters.

"Australian exports have turned the corner, with the latest trade figures showing that exports of goods and services in March this year were 20 per cent above the levels of March 1999. Exporters are taking advantage of recovery in the East Asian region — Australian merchandise exports to East Asia in March were up by 27 per cent on the same month last year. The Government’s taxation reforms will help ensure that exporters can capitalise on the improved outlook for economic growth in Asia and Europe in the coming year."

Mr Vaile said the Government would continue to promote Australian products and interests overseas in 2000-01.

$312.7 million for Austrade to undertake export promotional activities. ● Around 1.7 million Australian jobs depend on exports of goods and services. This represents one-in-five jobs. In rural and regional areas, exports account for as many as one-in-four jobs. ●

Australia continues to be a key driver of substantive outcomes in Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) group and will host the Trade Ministers' Meeting in Darwin on 6-7 June 2000. In 2000-01 additional resources will be provided to Australia's embassy and posts in the People's Republic of China to ensure that we can fully engage the Chinese Government during its term as APEC Chair. This will complement the resources Australia is putting into training for trade policy officials from China and technical assistance for a number of APEC members.


Funding will be maintained for the new WTO Disputes Investigation and Enforcement Mechanism established last September. The Government is committed to vigorously pursuing Australia’s rights under WTO agreements in overseas markets and the availability of this mechanism further extends the channels available to exporters in seeking to resolve market access problems.


Export Finance & Insurance Corporation (EFIC) will continue to support Australian export efforts by providing innovative and internationally competitive finance, insurance and guarantee services. In 1998-99 EFIC supported exports worth $7.6 billion and paid a dividend this year of $13.1 million.


East Timor ●

The Coalition will continue to support the efforts of Australian companies in East Timor through advice and support offered by Austrade. Austrade offices in Darwin and Washington are monitoring procurement opportunities for Australian suppliers of goods and services in East Timor. Austrade Washington staff meet monthly with officials from the UN’s Procurement Division. Austrade staff regularly meet with UN and other officials based in Darwin and visit Dili to assess the situation.

Austrade alerts Australian firms to UN procurement opportunities for items sourced by UN field officers based in Darwin and provides advice on UNTAET requirements for firms wishing to establish a business presence in East Timor. Austrade distributes a monthly newsletter and provides advice and assistance to Australian companies.

Austrade has held a series of seminars focusing on the long-term reconstruction needs of the Territory.

Olympics ●

Austrade has been allocated $5.913 million over four years ($1.464m in 2000-01) for a series of initiatives aimed at maximising the commercial and trade opportunities for Australia arising out of the

Sydney Olympics.

Expansion and upgrade of overseas trade representation:

Kunming and Chengdu offices - later this year Austrade will open offices in Kunming and Chengdu to enhance its pursuit of commercial opportunities arising from China’s Western Region Development Strategy.


Fukuoka upgrade — the trade office in Fukuoka will be expanded to a Consulate-General. Kyushu is now the third biggest regional economy of Japan. ❍

Senior Trade Commissioner Athens - a Senior Trade Commissioner will be appointed to the Athens post with prime responsibility for capturing business opportunities arising from the Athens 2004 Olympic Games.


Senior Trade Commissioner New York — upgrade of the post in New York. ❍


Austrade will continue to be active in the Government’s online program. New initiatives this year include:

Austrade Satellite Video Streaming — webcasting of Austrade seminars via the Austrade TradeStart network. This system will be available at 31 offices around Australia. 7 sites are already on line.


International Trade Entry Point - a single point of entry to the services of all levels of government and the industry associations for companies looking for export assistance. Austrade chairs the development process.


EMDG Electronic Lodgement of claims by consultants — a new system is being introduced from July 1, 2000, for consultants to lodge EMDG claims electronically. Consultants currently lodge over 70% of claims on behalf of companies.



Media contact: Bruce Mills 0417 283 475


Note: The way that the GST affects Budget estimates, accounting statements and appropriations is described in Budget Paper No. 4


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