Thursday, 11 June 2020
Questions without Notice
Small and Medium Enterprises Export Hubs
My question is to the Prime Minister. Ninety-seven per cent of funding in the first round of the Small and Medium Enterprises Export Hubs grants scheme was awarded to coalition electorates just before the last election. Did the Prime Minister approve exports rorts like he approved sports rorts?
I will ask the minister to add to my answer, but I absolutely reject the assertion and allegation just made by the member in the question that he put forward. Once again, the member is putting forward completely untruthful statements, and he has a habit of making untruthful allegations. I'll ask the minister—
Opposition members interjecting—
The assertion that the member made regarding me—the assertion against my character—is completely rejected, and I think it reflects badly on the member for making that assertion. I ask the minister to add to the answer.
Mr Bowen interjecting—
I'm very happy to add to the answer to this question and I'm happy to assist the member in his understanding of the program, because he clearly does not understand how this particular program works. The name of this program is the SME Export Hubs, and that's probably an indication of how it operates; it is a hub, which means that it services an entire region. So the assertion that the member is making clearly demonstrates a very limited understanding of the program. The SME Export Hubs don't just help those businesses located just next door to them; they actually assist a number of businesses across wide regions. A clear example that I'd like to put to the House—and this might also assist the member with his understanding—is that in South Australia we have Food South Australia. They received a grant to establish a hub in round 1, and they are explicitly offering to assist all businesses across South Australia. Let's be clear: it is based in a location, but it provides support right across South Australia.
I would also like to take the opportunity to point out that this is a competitive grants program. All applicants provided evidence of how they met the criteria through a two-stage application process. They were independently assessed. I'll just finish on this point: for both funding rounds, I, as the minister, accepted the advice and recommendations of the committee without change.
I am, Mr Speaker. I seek leave to table the table that shows the 97 per cent of funding that went to coalition electorates in the first round before the last election.
Leave not granted.