Grant cuts to hurt exporters

In a major blow to applicants, Austrade has significantly reduced the maximum amounts businesses can receive through its popular Export Development Grant (EMDG) program.

Jan 31, 2022, updated Jan 31, 2022

Some claimants may have missed the update from Austrade – released 23 December, 2021 – which provided critical information on assessment and grant agreement timings, grant payment schedules and estimated grant amounts.

According to the update, Austrade has received the highest number of applications in the history of the program and, as they work within a set allocation of resources and funding allocated each year, estimated payments have been severely reduced and grant assessment times extended.

Melissa Fardone, BDO Director R&D and Grants, says the announcement is disappointing for many businesses for whom the financial assistance provided through EMDG is a lifeline.

“EMDG is there to support businesses in growing export markets, which is particularly important in the current global environment. Such large cuts to anticipated funding makes it very hard for companies to keep reinvesting in export strategies.”

“While it has always been understood that the EMDG operated on a fixed pool of funding, and that the number of applications impacts the amounts received, it’s disappointing Austrade was not more careful in their forecasts and calculations to ensure businesses had more accurate advice.”

“Some claimants may have been incurring costs since submission of their application, which they may now not be supported for,” Fardone adds.

The 2022 initial ceiling amounts for each tier of funding have been significantly reduced from an annual ceiling of $40,000 in Tier 1 to $15,000; from $80,000 to $23,000 in Tier 2 and from $150,000 to $35,000 in Tier 3.

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Austrade is aiming to advise application outcomes before February 8, 2022, but has warned this may take longer given the high number of applications. Grant agreements will be issued from mid-February 2022 with no final date given.

There was no additional information provided in relation to the 2021 financial year other than applications are being assessed in the order they are received, and Austrade aims to finalise 98 per cent of applications by 30 June 2022.

Applicants can check the status of their application by logging into the EMDG online portal or by contacting a grants specialist.

This article is a version of one originally published on January 18, 2022 at

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