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One gets the impression that the National Audit Commissions Report was written by the big end of town, for the big end of town

By Export Council of Australia · May 07, 2014

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One gets the impression that the National Audit Commissions Report was written by the big end of town, for the big end of town. The issues that relate to small business, particularly those either in or planning to get into export, seem to have been left behind of dismissed altogether.

The SME sector is the backbone of Australian business and a significant contributor to jobs. Research conducted by the Export Council of Australia (Australia's International Business Survey) clearly supports the importance of SME companies that engage in export due to their higher than average investment in training and the sheer need for them to lead the Research & Development and innovation agenda.

 But to be successful on the international stage, SME's need support and that's not just an Australian phenomenon it's happening as we speak right across the world and driven further by the need to react to the downturn created by the GFC.

So, for the National Audit Commission to suggest that programs like the Export Market Development Scheme (EMDG) be scrapped can only have one downside and that downside is to make Australian business less internationally competitive. What makes it worse is the absolute fact that EMDG has to be one of the best economic stimulus programs ever conceived.

Every review, and there have been many, has proven without doubt that it works and importantly returns about thirteen dollars for every dollar invested. So why on earth would you scrap it, it just doesn't make any sense at all.

It's probably correct to say that the Export Finance Insurance Corporation (EFIC) has not been a significant player in the SME sector. But interestingly the Productivity Report on Australia’s Export Credit Arrangement said it should and the Export Council of Australia agrees.

Why on earth would anyone suggest that EFIC, a body that makes a substantial profit, be closed down. And why would it be suggested that Australia be the only country not to have an Export Credit Agency. If anything, EFIC should be expanded to assist SME exporters that continually face difficulties in raising capital.

And Austrade, to be pillaged once again is Australia's key export and investment agency. Austrade has a fine history of building export capability and assisting thousands of companies, particularly SME companies, find markets and develop an International presence.

Can anybody explain to me why a government agency that actually helps drive business and income to Australia is continually downsized when departments that do little more than create often unnecessary regulation and red tape keep growing?  

It defies logic.

There may be some good aspects to the commission’s report but anything that is going to make Australia less competitive internationally, certainly fails to cut it for me.

Ian Murray, Executive Chairman- Export Council of Australia

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Recent Comments



Steve Cordeiro wrote almost 3 years ago

Why would anyne think otherwise?


lee etherington wrote almost 3 years ago

As a Sydney based food export SME with sales to 50+ countries I have found both Austrade and the EMDG to be utterly useless, havent used either for the last 10 years. If you want benefits for us get the dollar down like every other country had tried and tried and tried to do while Oz sits back patting itself on the back saying aren't we clever with our high dollar...


Trevor Beuth wrote almost 3 years ago

I just read the above post and am astounded by recommendation #33 of the audit  commissions report. I totally agree with Ian.This has to be one of the dumbest recommendations I have ever read.

As a micro sized SME, Kelly & Windsor Australia has a growing export business with a target of 75% of sales and I just cant believe the stupidity of the recommendation especially in regards decimating Austrade, abolishing the EMDG scheme and severley cutting tourist grants - heaven forbid we dont want attract tourists who fly on Australian airlines and who spend money visiting Australia.

The basic logic is flawed - we are an export focussed business which is growing strongly especially into Chinese and Asian markets. We employs Australian staff, buy Australian made materials, pay Australian taxes on its export sales and add to the Australian economy as well as bringing in foreign exchange. Why on earth would any government not want to encourage this? To remove every support or assistance for exporters when every other country in the world is doing the exact opposite is madness. Maybe Australia isnt the clever country after all. It's absolutely unbelievable that this recommendation has been seriously considered let alone published. Maybe its a late April fools day joke.


Doug Tozer wrote almost 3 years ago

Part of what Australia needs and why AusTrade and other government export "focused" organizations need redevelopment is lack of performance to capture more of the $17 trillion annual global import market

The other part is education and access to global trade information at the people level not at the government or industry organization level where it may not be filtered down to all players or potential entrants. UN trade statistics is available for 160 countries has government made this readily available to you?

The will to export by local producers and manufacturers is dismal and has to be created and nurtured at the State regional levels, don't pass the buck and depend on the federal government as trade facilitation just does not exist at that level

Export facilitation has to stop being closed door and a knife and fork industry, and provide market support and facilitation at the b2b level

We should like other country governments insist that retailers buy 30 percent or more local production to stimulate growth and export potential instead of killing off total supply chains

We need to set up open access trade networks where business can add details and can pool resources and capacity to enter into global markets

Australia needs to think big, plan big and act big. A simple example, we import $40 million in candles and export 1 million into a billion dollar plus annual market

We need to turn around our politicians. They have been in government far to long and are incompetent in growing wealth and they just wring out the wet tax rag tighter to get the last drops out of a diminishing resource base they themselves are selling off and crippling

There next move is to follow the US department stores by reducing wages to a low life rate to further bolster retailer profits from imports from slave rate countries

We have to stop the happy hour budget that wants to spend our money building infrastructure and buying defense boys toys that are not needed and used to win votes for another election.

Revenue better spent in participation and part ownership of manufacturing to return annual profits. Better spent in owning our minerals and contracting out mining to keep the revenue where it belongs, to the Australian people. Better spent in added value manufacturing of our minerals and growing exports

Will our government stand for Australians or keep painting a global image of good guy and Samaritan while tearing this country apart. If the Australian government kept our wealth they would not need business handouts and favours to the big boys in industry that we should question if that type of control over government is in the interest of the people


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