The Federal Budget should address the export sector and increase funding for the Export Market Development Grants (EMDG) scheme if Australia is to remain globally competitive, says Ian Murray, executive director of the Australian Institute of Export.
“Every dollar spent on EMDG generates up to $27 of exports. Recipients of the scheme in 2006/07 did $4 billion in export sales. That’s a significant contribution,” says Murray.
Exports comprise 22 percent of Australia’s GDP, and one in five jobs rely on selling overseas.
While the shortfall in EMDG last year came from changes made by the previous Government, Murray says the Rudd Government should now be able to make amends.
“That’s history, we are in 2009 in the biggest global crisis we have ever experienced and yet again, we have a another forecasted shortfall in the country’s major export development program,” he notes. “Why add salt to the wound by neglecting to pay the exporters what they are entitled to? The results are on the board, the Government gets $2 in revenue for every one spent.”
Murray believes Australian exporters need support to move past the minerals boom and to develop sustainable trade: “We can no longer rely on the minerals boom to generate our export earnings. We need a robust, innovative and confident small to medium export, which, with the support of Government will drive international trade.”