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Martin doctors the truth on Austrade.

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Thursday 6 June 2002 - MVT057/2002

Martin Doctors the Truth on Austrade

Opposition Trade spokesman Stephen Martin has deliberately doctored the truth arising from a Senate Legislative Committee hearing into the Australian Trade Commission (Austrade), Trade Minister Mark Vaile said today.

Mr Vaile said earlier today Dr Martin issued a media release alleging that Austrade officials appearing before the Senate Legislative Committee admitted the Federal Government’s Export Marketing Development Grant (EMDG) scheme was under resourced and would dry up in the next three years.

“Dr Martin has resorted to cheap opportunistic politics by manipulating questions and answers given at the Senate Estimates hearing into Austrade,” Mr Vaile said.

“The opposition Trade spokesman has doctored the truth to serve no other purpose than to satisfy his own political fantasy.

“At no stage during the Austrade estimates hearing did senior Austrade officials indicate, nor could one imply from their answers, that EMDG funds would dry up over the next three years.  He only needs to check the Senate Committee Hansard to confirm this.

“It is ridiculous for Dr Martin to suggest that the EMDG scheme is under-resourced

“Dr Martin has benefited from a full and comphrehensive briefing on the EMDG scheme from my Department.

“He knows full well that by the end of this financial year some 3000 small to medium enterprises will receive EMDG grants.  Each is expected to receive, on average, a $45,000 grant, and some 20 per cent of these grants will go to rural and regional Australia.

“The government’s aim to double the number of exporters by 2006 is unlikely to significantly impact on the EMDG scheme in the current four year budget cycle.

“Grant payments made under EMDG are retrospective.  Currently Austrade is providing grants, this financial year, to businesses for expenditure incurred in financial year 2000/01.”

This year in the 2002/03 budget the government announced a $400,000 per annum increase to the EMDG allocation of $150 million per year for a total of $150.4 million for the next four years.

“The budget increase to the EMDG scheme announced in this years budget was based on a detailed analysis of current EMDG data provided by the scheme’s manager Austrade.”

Media Contact: Mark Croxford +61 02 6277 7420

This page last modified: Friday, 07-Jun-2002 09:38:34 EST

Local Date: Friday, 07-Jun-2002 14:40:28 EST