ECA statement on 2019-20 Budget

02.04.2019 Heath Baker
ECA statement on 2019-20 Budget

What's in the 2019-20 Budget for exporters? 

Short answer: a $60m boost to EMDG.

Long answer: a $60m boost to the Export Market Development Grant. (And a bit for agricultural and Tasmanian exporters.)


‘There’s not much by way of new initiatives for exporters in the 2019-20 budget, but at least the new money that is there is being spent wisely—on EMDG’, said Heath Baker, acting CEO of the Export Council of Australia.

Analysis by KPMG in 2015 found every $1 the government spends to encourage Australian businesses to market their goods and services internationally, $7.03 is returned to the Australian economy.

‘The return to surplus—the centrepiece of this budget—is built on the back of resources exports. Australia critically needs to diversify its export base so that when resources inevitably cycle lower, other export sectors can fill the void,’ said Mr Baker. ‘But other than EMDG, this budget contains little for exporters.’

There is little new money in the budget to support exporters, or address the structural factors that make it so difficult to export:
• nothing to progress the Single Window for Trade, an important initiative to make it easier for businesses (particularly small ones) to get into export—and a 2016 election commitment
• a negligible funding increase for Austrade and the cancellation of the Australia Week programs
• no new funding for the trade area of DFAT or its aid-for-trade program
• the National Brand for Australia—something exporters are keenly awaiting and a key announcement from the 2017 Foreign Policy White Paper—actually loses money.

On the plus side, the budget includes $16.5m in new money for agricultural exporters, and $12.9m to continue existing programs. This money is mostly targeted at measures to reduce barriers to trade (such as the lack of scientific protocols that enable market access). $68m will go to revitalising freight rail in Tasmania.


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