Former Minister for Trade
Australian Commonwealth Coat of Arms

2 September 2008

Mortimer Review of Export Policies and Programs

The Minister for Trade, Simon Crean, today received the Review of Export Policies and Programs undertaken by Mr David Mortimer AO and Dr John Edwards.

Despite rapid economic growth in our region driving high demand for energy and mineral resources Australian exports have underperformed over the past decade.

The Howard Government was content to rely on the resources boom. It failed to invest in Australia's skills, infrastructure and education.

As a result, the Rudd Government inherited high inflation and an appalling trade performance. The Howard Government recorded 72 consecutive monthly trade deficits. No previous Government in Australia's history presided over such a woeful trade outcome.

"The Rudd Government is committed to turning around our trade accounts. Australia is not immune from the global economic uncertainty but there are some encouraging signs emerging. High export prices and continuing strong regional demand are helping our external accounts move in the right direction," said Mr Crean.

"To ensure a sustained improvement, the Rudd Government is implementing a new trade policy to restore Australia's level of productivity, international competitiveness and export growth", said
Mr Crean.

The Mortimer report will play a key role in shaping the direction of Australia's export policies and programs.

"This will help to ensure that trade policy is an integral part of our broader economic policy settings which is essential if we are to achieve a more sustainable trade performance," Mr Crean said.

The Mortimer report also evaluates the Export Market Development Grants (EMDG) scheme along with the role that free trade agreements can play in opening up new export market opportunities for Australian business.

"I congratulate the Chairman of the Review, David Mortimer AO, for his outstanding efforts in undertaking this task. I would also like to acknowledge the significant contribution made by Dr John Edwards," Mr Crean said.

"I want to thank the stakeholders who made submissions to the Review, including those who met with the Review Panel and Secretariat."

The Review received over 160 written submissions and held consultations with over 170 organisations and individuals in all state and territory capitals.

It is anticipated that the Mortimer Review will be released publicly later this month. The EMDG assessment will be tabled in Parliament, as required by legislation.

Mr Crean will deliver the Government's response to the Mortimer Review later in the year as part of a statement on Australia's future trade policy directions and priorities.

More information on the Review and photos of the presentation of the report.

Media Inquiries: Mr Crean's office 02 6277 7420 - Departmental Media Liaison 02 6261 1555