The proposed changes to the Export Market Development Grants (EMDG) Act introduced into the Parliament today aim to both extend the life of the EMDG scheme and better balance the cost of the scheme to its budget.

These changes also aim to ensure that those exporters most deserving of grants receive the greatest level of support possible within the budget available for the scheme.

The changes are as follows:

1. extending the Export Market Development Grants (EMDG) scheme so that it applies to all grant years from 2011-12 to 2015-16 inclusive;

2. reducing the maximum grant from $200,000 to $150,000;

3. reducing the maximum number of grants available for an individual recipient (other than an approved body or an approved joint venture) from eight to seven;

4. capping intellectual property registration expenses at $50,000 per application;

5. increasing the minimum expenses threshold from $10,000 to $20,000;

6. increasing the income limit for members of approved joint ventures/consortia from $30 million to $50 million (rectifying a previous drafting error);

7. removing approved trading houses as an eligible special approval applicant category (this provision has been unused for a number of years);

8. reinstating disqualifying conviction provisions in the Act that were unintentionally removed when Criminal Code Amendment (Theft, Fraud, Bribery and Related Offences) Act 2000 rules replaced earlier disqualifying conviction provisions (rectifying a previous drafting error);

9. enabling Austrade to impose conditions on the accreditation of EMDG consultants (clarifying the long-standing section 100 provisions);

10. amending the ‘form and manner’ requirements and claim lodgement deadlines for applications submitted by accredited EMDG consultants (enabling Austrade, for example, to accept later lodgment of claims from accredited consultants).

Changes to the basic provisions of the scheme (2 through 5 above) are as developed in consultation with Industry Associations including Consultant representation. Changes one through eight above are expected to have effect from 1 July 2010.

Changes nine and 10 only have practical application should Austrade at a future point in time implement a consultant accreditation scheme. At this point in time Austrade has not made this decision. Should Austrade intend to implement such a scheme, it will conduct widespread consultation with the industry.