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Trade - strengthening regional Australia.

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Warren Truss MP Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry - Federal Member for Wide Bay


Federal Member for Wide Bay Warren Truss said today a commitment by the Federal Coalition Government to double the number of Australian companies which export will significantly boost regional and rural areas.

Following this week's announcement of a $545 million trade surplus for the month of September, Mr Truss said exports are up while imported products are down. He said more firms in Wide Bay are exporting overseas, many with the help of Government assistance packages.

"The National/Liberal commitment will double the number of Australian companies exporting by 2006," he said.

"More companies will be able to increase their profit base through exports, with a flow-on benefit for local employment opportunities."

Mr Truss said one in four jobs in regional areas is dependent on exports. This number is expected to increase over the next few years.

Under the Coalition's new Trade policy, Australians Exporting to the World, funding for the TradeStart and Export Access programs, designed to help businesses into exports, will be renewed to more than $21 million over four years.

"I urge all local companies who are not currently exporting to consider these assistance programs that could give them the start they need to get their products to overseas markets," Mr Truss said.

Under the Howard/Anderson Government, exports have grown by 54 per cent mainly through the removal of $3.5 billion in hidden taxes and waterfront and industrial relations reform.

"Compare this to Labor's record of devastating interest rates on small business and union dominance of the workplace".

Mr Truss said regional and rural areas in particular cannot afford to return to Labor's past practices that crippled business progress in this country.