The business events industry is set to benefit from a funding boost of almost $50 million to the Export Market Development Grant (EMDG) scheme.
The scheme is a key financial assistance program for businesses that promote inbound tourism or conferences and events held in Australia.
Announced yesterday (1 April 2020) by Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment Simon Birmingham, the funding boost will see an extra $49.8 million injected into the EMDG scheme in the 2019-20 financial year.
This is in addition to the $60 million already committed by the Morrison Government, bringing funding for the scheme to $207.7 million for the 2019-20 financial year.
“We recognise the current COVID-19 crisis is placing immense pressure on Australian exporters and tourism businesses, many of whom felt the earliest and deepest aspects of the economic downturn,” said Birmingham.
“This funding injection will put more cash in the pockets of thousands of Australian businesses when they need it most.”
Industry body welcomes funding boost
The Association of Australian Convention Bureaux (AACB) has praised the Federal Government on the additional funding, with CEO Andrew Hiebl saying it will provide certainty during tough times.
“With a majority of our members eligible as Approved Bodies under the scheme, today’s announcement by Minister Birmingham provides a shot in the arm for convention bureaux around the country whose role it is to attract international business events to Australia through marketing and bidding activities,” he said.
“Eligible convention bureaux will be able to position these funds to recovery efforts in what will be a highly competitive post-COVID-19 world.
“It is positive to see federal and state/territory governments recognising that the business events industry is vital to rebuilding Australia’s visitor and knowledge economies.”
Welcome relief for cancelled events
In his announcement, Birmingham confirmed applications lodged in the 2020-21 financial year can claim promotional expenses that have been impacted by COVID-19, such as tradeshow cancellations.
These activities will be treated by Austrade as having taken place.
Who is eligible?
Any Australian individual, partnership, company, association, co-operative, statutory corporation or trust that has carried on export promotion activities can apply for the grant.
To be eligible, the business must have:
• income of no more than $50 million in the grant year
• incurred at least $15,000 of eligible expenses under the scheme (first-time applicants can combine two years’ expenses)
• principal status for the export business (some exceptions apply, such as non-profit export-focused industry bodies)
The business also must have promoted one of the following:
• the export of goods or most services
• inbound tourism
• the export of intellectual property and know-how
• conferences and events held in Australia
Find out more about the scheme and whether your business is eligible to apply here.
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