I welcome the announcement by my colleague Minister Barnaby Joyce, of more than $11 million in grants to improve market access for small exporters of dairy, meat, egg, fish, horticultural and grain products.
Small businesses stand to benefit the most from this funding programme. Small businesses and family enterprise are at the heart of the Australian agriculture sector. 82 per cent of the sector’s output and 83 per cent of employment comes from small businesses.
The grants programme is seeking proposals for projects that will improve market access for small exporters and that will promote competitiveness and profitability.
As well as helping Australian small businesses to improve their competitiveness in the international marketplace, this funding announcement is a timely one. It has the potential to assist small businesses to make the most of the historic trade agreements the Abbott Government has signed with China, Japan and Korea.
The grants are one component of a four year $15 million package to assist small exporters, announced last year. The other two components are a rebate for eligible small exporters to assist with export registration charges, and a review of export fees and charges.
Applications for the grants programme close 5 pm AEST, 30 April 2015. Programme guidelines, including selection criteria and application details, can be found on the Department of Agriculture website.