House debates

Wednesday, 17 June 2020

Questions without Notice


2:53 pm

Photo of Melissa McIntoshMelissa McIntosh (Lindsay, Liberal Party) Share this | | Hansard source

My question is to the Minister representing the Minister for Employment, Skills, Small and Family Business. Will the minister please update the House on how the Morrison government's JobMaker plan is backing Australian small businesses to access export markets and grow their businesses to create jobs and help drive the post-coronavirus economic recovery?

2:54 pm

Photo of Karen AndrewsKaren Andrews (McPherson, Liberal Party, Minister for Industry) Share this | | Hansard source

I thank the member for her question, and I thank her for the work she has been doing in Western Sydney supporting many businesses, especially advanced manufacturing businesses, in her electorate in Lindsay. I'm sure everyone in this House would agree that Australia has a very well-earned reputation for high-quality products that are very highly valued both here and around the world. Many, many of our businesses are among the most productive and innovative in the world.

Our small and medium businesses benefit from the fact that we are a very strong and a very proud trading nation and that we have had a very healthy balance of trade, even over the last few very critical months. That's why a critical part of our JobMaker plan is backing our export businesses so that they can take advantage of our free trade agreements. During the COVID-19 pandemic, I have been so thrilled by the level of support that has been given to Australian businesses and to Australian Made, but it is clear that, as a small nation with a population of about 25 million people, the export markets are very important to us. If we want our small businesses to grow, if we want our medium enterprises to grow, it's very important that we continue to trade and that we continue to support those businesses to develop the export markets that they need.

So we have delivered on our promise to boost funding to further promote the Australian Made logo in overseas markets and to back our Aussie exports. It's very clear that the coalition understand the value of promoting Australian businesses, including through the very successful Export Market Development Grants scheme. We've restored the funding that was taken out of that program. We increased it with an extra $60 million in last year's budget and, importantly, we have increased it further again by $49.8 million as part of our response to COVID-19.

Our support to small and medium businesses, including our JobKeeper payment, has kept many businesses afloat during this pandemic, but it is very important that we do more than keep our businesses afloat. We need our businesses to do more than stay afloat; we need them to keep swimming and we need them to get started to make sure that we are getting all of the benefits that we can into our economy so that we can grow jobs and grow our economy. Being a trading nation, we are very well placed now to support our businesses as they come through the COVID pandemic.