News

EMDG recipient prosecuted for fraud

An investigation by Austrade’s Special Investigations Unit has resulted in the successful prosecution of a person for offences committed against the Commonwealth with respect to the submission of Export Market Development Grant (EMDG) applications.

The former principal of an educational college, which is no longer trading, pleaded guilty in Melbourne Magistrates Court in June to dishonestly obtaining financial advantage and using a forged document, resulting in attempted and actual fraud upon the Commonwealth of $97,486, including $46,486 in grants paid due to fraudulent information.

For making false claims about cheque payments and electronic fund transfers, and for falsifying international money transfer receipts, the court sentenced the person to a five-month term of imprisonment, wholly suspended for 18 months with a $5,000 surety bond. He was ordered to pay $46,486 compensation, a sum equal to the fraudulently obtained EMDG funding.

Austrade detected the fraud as part of its risk management and fraud prevention strategies and sought assistance from the Australian Federal Police in executing search warrants.

Second tranche payout factor for the 2016-17 grant year

On Wednesday 27 June 2018 Austrade determined the payout factor for the 2016-17 grant year to be 29.2356 cents in the dollar, for payments above the initial payment ceiling amount of $40,000.

Austrade made electronic funds transfers, to the nominated bank account of Applicants entitled to a second tranche payment, on Thursday 28 June.

Initial Payment Ceiling Amount

The Hon Steven Ciobo MP, Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment, has determined the initial payment ceiling for the 2017–18 grant year for the Export Market Development Grants scheme will be $40,000.

The initial payment ceiling is the maximum amount paid as a first instalment to reimburse exporters who have made eligible marketing expense applications through the scheme.

An initial payment of up to $40,000 provides exporters with a reasonable immediate cash flow, while mitigating the risk of demand exceeding available funding. In addition, it should allow for a reasonable second tranche payment for the 2017–18 grant year.

Recipients for the 2017–18 grant year who have an entitlement up to and including $40,000 will be paid in full. Those with entitlements above this amount will receive a second tranche payment at the end of June 2019, the size of which will be determined at that time.

Balance Distribution Date for 2018

The Balance Distribution Date (the date at which Austrade ceases assessing grant applications in order to calculate the second tranche payment) has been determined by the Minister to be 22 June 2018.

Final payment outcomes for businesses entitled to a grant of more than $40,000 will not be formally determined until 26 June 2018, and communicated to claimants after that date.

Popularity of EMDG continues to grow

The extended application period for Export Market Development Grants (EMDG) applications closed at the end of February and the increasing number of applications continues to demonstrate the scheme’s popularity.

The number of claims received this year increased 6.6 per cent above the previous year. Of the 3,771 applications, 1,444 were submitted by first-year applicants, an increase of 13.6 per cent from the number of first-year applicants last year, and approaching double the number recorded in 2013. 

This popularity of the scheme among new applicants shows healthy levels of export activity among new exporters.

Claims received per grant year (GY 2013 to GY 2017)

 Grant year Years in scheme = 1 Years in scheme = 2+ Total claims Change from previous year
 2013  859  1,856  2,715  N/A
 2014  985  2,210  3,195  17.7%
 2015  1,206  2,115  3,321  3.9%
 2016  1,271  2,268  3,539  6.6%
 2017  1,444  2,327  3,771  6.6%

Of the total value of EMDG claimants' markets this year, 41 per cent was attributed to Asian markets, and 37 per cent to North America. Oceania, Africa and South America combined accounted for just 6 per cent of the total.

The proportion of claims from the services industries increased from 66.5 per cent last year to 67.5 per cent this year. Manufacturing and primary industries both decreased slightly as a proportion of the claim population. Manufacturing now accounts for 28.2 per cent of claimants and primary industries account for 4.3 per cent. Tourism accounted for 12.2 per cent of EMDG applications this year, while the education industry accounted for 5.4 per cent.

Note: Approximately 50 per cent of export value is not assigned to a particular market (rather to 'all markets' or 'other countries'). The value of these exports has been left out of these figures.

Good reports of EMDG in satisfaction survey

Results of a client satisfaction survey of Export Market Development Grants (EMDG) recipients indicate a strong positive response to the assistance provided by the scheme to Australian exporters.

Commissioned in July 2017, survey results indicated that 97 per cent of respondents considered receipt of a grant an advantage for their organisation, and 95 per cent said a grant enabled their organisation to become a more sustainable exporter.

Respondents discovered EMDG through a range of sources, including Austrade or the Austrade website (26 per cent), business associates (25 per cent), accountants or other professional services providers (24 per cent), and EMDG consultants (13 per cent).

The survey was sent to 2,680 clients drawn from Austrade’s EMDG database, and recorded a response rate of 26 per cent.

Read more highlights from the survey

EMDG recipients scoop export awards

Export Market Development Grants (EMDG) scheme recipients performed well at the 55th Australian Export Awards, with 10 of the 12 winners being current or former clients of the program.

Co-presented by Austrade and the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the ceremony was held in at Parliament House in Canberra on 5 December 2017 before an audience of about 450 guests.

Recipients who won their award categories came from a wide range of industry sectors, including pharmaceuticals, information technology, clinical research, swimwear and mining technology.

The Export Market Development Grants (EMDG) scheme is a financial assistance program for Australian small- to medium-sized businesses.

It provides an incentive for current and aspiring export-ready businesses to increase their international marketing and promotion expenditure to achieve more sustainable international sales.

In 2016–17 the EMDG scheme made a total of 3166 grants, worth $131.4 million, to qualifying Australian exporters.

Read more about the EMDG scheme

Read more about the Australian Export Awards