Title Crean rebuffed by his own inquiry.
Database Press Releases
Date 24-09-2008
Author TRUSS, Warren
Citation Id Y2NR6
Cover date Wednesday, 24 September 2008
Format Online Text
In Government no
Item Online Text: 1749482
Key item No
MP yes
Pages 1p.
Party NATS
Speech No
System Id media/pressrel/Y2NR6

Crean rebuffed by his own inquiry.

Warren Truss Leader of The Nationals Shadow Minister for Trade, Transport, Regional Development and Local Government Federal Member for Wide Bay


W o r k i n g h a r d , g e t t i n g r e s u l t s

Media contact: Paul Chamberlin 0419 233989 / 02 6277 4482 paul.chamberlin@aph.gov.au www.nationals.org.au

24 September 2008

Crean rebuffed by his own inquiry

In a humiliating rebuff, the Trade Minister’s own review into the Export Market Development Grants scheme has rejected most of the “improvements” he introduced to the scheme earlier this year.

The key recommendations of the Mortimer Review of the EMDG scheme would require the Rudd Government to double back on its own election policy and dump those changes. Labor might also need to do the right thing and increase funding for this very important export initiative.

The Shadow Minister for Trade, Warren Truss – a former Trade minister who returned to the portfolio in last Monday’s Opposition frontbench reshuffle – said the Government had made a mess of its unfunded changes to EMDG by playing populist politics.

However, he was surprised to see the Trade Minister Simon Crean sound so supportive of the Review when it conclusively rejected a series of changes he made to the scheme.

Mr Crean increased the minimum number of grants under the scheme from seven to eight – but the Mortimer Review says the number of grants should be reduced to five.

Mr Crean changed the minimum expenditure threshold from $15,000 to $10,000 – yet the Review recommends that the threshold be increased to $30,000.

The inquiry also found that the Minister under-funded the EMDG scheme, despite lofty pre-election promises to assist exporters with copious amounts of cash. The Minister now faces two alternatives, the Review says: either cut back the scheme or provide more funding.

Mr Mortimer said that the EMDG scheme should be regularly reviewed “but not more frequently than every five years”. Labor bought that review forward, the 14th such inquiry over the past 34 years.

“But the new Government made its expensive changes to the scheme before the review happened. Now the review is complete it is obvious they got the changes wrong – and they do not have the money to pay for them.

“For the first time in many years Labor did not pay claims in full last financial year – leaving many exporters short-changed. This year they have slashed the maximum first payment from $70,000 to $40,000.

“The Government would be well-advised to think very carefully about the recommendations and its own startling failures in administering the scheme over the past 10 months,” Mr Truss said.