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  Austrade Rulings

General assessment principles for considering short term consultancy claims


This ruling will focus how Austrade will interpret the words “short term” as they are used in item 6 of the table at section 33 of the EMDG Act 1997. The ruling does not address the question of whether or not a consultant is actually undertaking market research or marketing activities as required by the legislation.


Austrade will consider the arrangements between an applicant and its consultant(s) so far as these are concerned with export market research. This will involve any history of engagements where applicable. It will also involve consideration of the number of assignments worked on by the particular consultant, whether included in the claim or not.

An assignment would be defined as any agreement between the parties to have a consultant provide market research or to provide marketing services for a particular product range to a particular market.

The duration of any assignment would be regarded as the inclusive period covered by the assignment’s commencement and its completion (which includes all writing up and delivery).

Where a consultant works in a staged way (its follow up work being conditional upon its successful completion of an assignment’s first stage), Austrade will regard the assignment’s duration as including the time intended to be spent on the follow up work.

In the absence of any overall agreement between an applicant and its consultant, each of the individual assignments would be looked at in conjunction in order to assess whether there is an ongoing arrangement between the two parties.

Unless special circumstances apply (see below), repetitive use of a consultant by an applicant indicates an ongoing or a long term arrangement.

Key assessment principles:

  • A consulting assignment lasting up to 3 months will generally be eligible. In particular cases the assignment may extend over a period of up to 12 months.

  • Consultancies will not be regarded as short term where a consultant is engaged on an ongoing basis.

  • Where the consultant is not engaged on an ongoing basis, one assignment per consultant will be allowed except in particular circumstances.

Austrade will allow any consulting arrangement which falls into one of the following categories:

  1. An assignment lasting less than 3 months. Only one assignment per consultant except in the following circumstances:

  • The consultant’s assignments are clearly for different markets (countries) or for different products, and

  • The consultant works for other clients, and

  • There is a gap between consulting assignments of at least one month, and there is no arrangement in place (written or unwritten) for the applicant to use the consultant on an ongoing basis. Repeated assignments or renewed arrangements could indicate that there is an ongoing arrangement in place

  1. An assignment lasting 3-12 months which is for a one-off project and which is based on a specified product and market region or on other specific terms. Austrade will only allow one assignment per consultant and no renewals would be allowed for this category of assignment.


The examples will not include all scenarios but can be taken as illustrative of the general principles to be applied by Austrade in assessing claims for short term consultancies.


Any claimed consultancy fees for services provided by Austrade will be assessed no differently to claim for other consultants.


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