We did not send out a newsletter for September. Too busy with application lodgments.
There is a bit to catch up on, so….here we go:
Trade Minister – Senator Don Farrell.
It is a bit late to advise, however, we confirm that Senator Don Farrell is now the current Minister for Trade and Tourism.
Senator Farrell is based in South Australia. He previously held the Shadow Ministry for Tourism.
Senator Farrell has three big challenges on his plate, the trade dispute with China, the stalled Free Trade Agreement with the UK and the EMDG program you are part of.
EMDG as you would be aware has changed over recent years, not what it covers and what it’s trying to do, i.e. helping SME grow their business overseas, but how you apply and the new additional steps to actually get paid.
In my opinion, the previous government undertook to change the program without any real industry consultation, or development of the right support of policy framework for the scheme.
Good idea (maybe!) to change things, but how things have been put in practice has been less than ideal and not that relevant to the exporting community during and post Covid.
The new EMDG process is clunky, involves more initial effort and fails to provide the promised simplicity and certainly to the scheme.
It fails several “pub tests” for sure. Things are getting better as time goes on of course.
Quite correctly, Senator Farrell has already called for an operational review of the scheme which I make comment about in the next section of this newsletter. A step in the right direction.
Operational Rivew of the EMDG program
This was review was announced some months back.
I was able to meet with the report chair Mr. John Angley in Adelaide. I was able to express my views on matters that could be done better – in the main – to process and pay all grant applications sooner than later. I got a fair hearing.
A copy of my written submission and attachments can be accessed via the following link.
John has to report back to Minister by next month. I am unsure what we will be advised, if anything.
Major structural changes to EMDG will not be possible until the next 5-year review of the program due in 2024.
EMDG and the Federal Budget being handed down next Tuesday
I do not expect any major announcement about EMDG in next weeks budget. If there is, I will have to eat my hat and send out an additional newsletter on the day.
The previous government had an election policy announcement of a $50M regional EMDG program. I cannot see that happening, being taken over by the current government. I was not a supporter of it in the first place.
Round 1 Applications for expenditure up to June 30th, 2022 – Processing Status
For those applications that were lodged back in November 2021 we had to prepare and lodge “Milestone Reports” (the third step in the grant process) in recent months up to September 30th.
All done and dusted. Only one thrill seeker (Grant you know who you are) leaving it to the last day!
Once your milestone report is processed and assessed you get a letter to say that your grant payment will be paid within 14 days.
This has been changed to “14 working days after assessment”. This has not happened to date with payments taking much longer to hit the bank account than promised, given new systems needed to be developed, well so we are told anyway.
Things are getting better with two large processing runs in the last 2 weeks. About 2/3’s of applicants being told they are going to be paid, with the majority of those now actually paid. Austrade is continuing to process the remaining 1/3 and I would expect most will be done within the next month or so.
Round 2 Applications for Grant Approval for expenditure from July 2022
This is for applications for funding for this financial year and beyond.
These are the applications that were lodged prior to August 17th, the first step in the process.
Austrade have processed about 40% to the grant approval stage to date. They are working through the rest.
No grant offers have been made to date, nor is the capped amount per tier type know as well.
For Round 1 the funding caps were:
Tier 1 Promised $40,000 Actual $15,000
Tier 2 Promised $80,000 Actual $24,600
Tier 3 Promised $150,000 Actual $36,600
Last year the announcement of the capped tier levels as above (bad news) was made the day before Xmas, (not what you want in your Xmas stocking!).
I expect for Round 2 it will be sooner, in the coming weeks. We will of course let you know as soon as we can.
Round 3 Applications for Grant Approval for expenditure from July 2023
This is for clients, not already in Rounds 1 or 2. It will cover expenditure from July 1, 2023, and beyond.
The application process (the first step) is stated as to open in March 2023. I do not expect it will be any earlier.
If you have any queries, please don’t hesitate to contact us.
All the best,
Stuart and team