PARLIAMENT has passed amendments that will help grow Australia’s exports by improving the Export Finance and Insurance Corporation (Efic) support for Australian small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).
Efic Amendment (Support for Commonwealth Entities) Bill 2016 passed with bipartisan support this week.
Efic is Australia’s official export credit agency aiming to help small business grow internationally. The organisation has worked with close to 300 small businesses over the past three years, providing more than $500m in financial support.
In a statement, trade minister Steven Ciobo said the amendments would help Efic keep pace with Australia’s changing exports by enabling it to lend directly to a broader range of SMEs.
“Previously, Efic could only provide a guarantee for a loan from another bank for these types of companies,” he said.
“Now Efic can lend directly, saving businesses time and money.”
Mr Ciobo said the changes enshrined in legislation a requirement there is a net increase in Australian jobs within a business applying for Efic financing for overseas direct investment.
“While it was already Efic policy that applicants for its overseas direct investment financing product must not use it to fund the outsourcing of jobs, the legislation provides further safeguards and puts these requirements into law,” he said.