Op-ed by Steven Ciobo
MP for the Gold Coast seat of Moncrieff and Federal Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment
This article originally appeared in the Weekend Gold Coast Bulletin on 07 Apr 2018

Small businesses should embrace mechanisms for growth to maximise export potential

Beyond the closing ceremony, the Gold Coast’s small businesses can harness the momentum from the Commonwealth Games to go for gold.

The Games are expected to deliver a $2 billion lift to the Queensland economy, including a $1.7 billion boost to the Gold Coast region alone. Tourism will be a key part of this.

Last year, the Gold Coast welcomed 9.1 million visitors who spent more than $4.6 billion. Hopefully we’ll beat that this year with the surge of visitors expected for the Commonwealth Games. As Tourism Minister, I have been working with Tourism Australia to attract international tourists to the Games.

Last year, we launched a campaign in London to lure the Brits Down Under for the Games and have supported the Queen’s Baton Relay across the Commonwealth to showcase the Games on the global stage.

The Turnbull Coalition Government is ready to support Gold Coast businesses who want to embrace export opportunities from these Commonwealth Games.

Many tourism operators may not realise they are exporters. However, if a business provides services to international visitors they are exporting. This Government is committed to supporting our exporters so they can grow and employ more people.

The support is practical, tangible and available through agencies like Efic, Australia’s export credit agency, and Austrade, our national trade and investment promotion agency.

Efic operates on a commercial basis, and helps exporters when their banks are unable to do so. Last year, the Turnbull Government broadened the ways in which Efic can support SME exporters, including tourism operators. For the first time, Efic can now offer financial support to tourism exporters who supply services directly to international visitors.

Efic provides financial solutions for SME exporters and for larger projects, helping them with loans, buyer finance, guarantees and bonds. Efic also provides resources, such as the online Exporter Journey, that walks companies through the steps to successful exporting.

Over the past three years, Efic has worked with 291 small businesses and provided more than $390 million in financial support, enabling those businesses to have a globalreach.

Efic is already helping Gold Coast businesses such as Marine Engineering Consultants in Coomera. They are one of the world’s best-quality marina facilities and are hosting a fleet of superyachts, attracted by the Commonwealth Games, and the expertise and skills of this Marina’s 70 trades on-site and their 500-strong talent base of highly skilled marine related contractors.

MEC opened its doors 25 years ago, focusing on boatbuilding. In the last 10 years, MEC has constructed 19 luxury and commercial aluminium catamaran ferries and charter vessels for the local and international market. MEC is a great example of a globally successful business who used Efic’s support to get ahead.

I hope as many Gold Coast businesses as possible take advantage of the opportunities and support on offer to set themselves up for export success. The Turnbull Coalition Government is determined for the Games to provide the Gold Coast with long lasting economic benefits.