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Public Policy Rulings 1999/1

  Austrade Rulings

General assessment principles for applicants carrying on business as hotels where they claim short term consultants and/or overseas representation expenses.


Applicants promoting hotels make payments to other entities to carry out their hotel's export marketing. These other entities may be consultants, Australian management companies or they may be overseas representatives related or unrelated to the applicant. Accordingly, payments of this type may be assessed in 'overseas representation' (item 1 of the section 33 table) or 'short term consultants'(item 6 of the section 33 table), depending on the relationships between the various parties. 

An applicant's payments will often be based on the level of sales or as a percentage of room revenue. 

An applicant's payments may be to a person who also promotes other Australian or non-Australian properties. 

An applicant's lump sum or sales related payments may include components for other eligible expenses as outlined in the section 33 table such as marketing visit expenses or advertising. 

A number of assessment issues arise from this method of operation:

  1. Can Austrade allow as eligible expenses any payments made by way of sales related payments? -section 49 of the Act refers.

  2. Can payments to an Australian management company be eligible EMDG expenses where that management company provides overseas representation services?

  3. Can applicants transfer expenses from item 6 of the s.33 table (consultants engaged on a short term basis) to other items in the table?

  4. Can applicants transfer expenses from item 1 of the s.33 table to other items in circumstances where the $200.000 'overseas representation' cap is circumvented? Specifically, how does Austrade assess claim where the overseas representative is involved in generic promotion or advertising  of properties in a hotel chain?


  1. A hotel paying its overseas representative an amount based on a percentage of room revenue may be incurring eligible expenses where Austrade is satisfied that the representative has itself spent an amount on payments for eligible promotional activities. For example, where an overseas representative is paid $100,000 by an applicant but only spends $40,000 on direct expenses promoting the applicant's property, Austrade will assess the $40,000 component as potentially eligible.

    An overseas representative's direct expenses would most commonly be for fares, advertising or communications expenses. In certain cases, salaries of the representative may be incurred in this way where there is an adequate basis for directly attributing salaries to promotion of the applicant's property. 

  2. Amounts paid to an Australian management company for services which include overseas representation services are potentially eligible where Austrade is satisfied that a suitable basis exists for attributing the overseas representation services to promotion of the applicant's property.

    Austrade will examine the payments made by the management company which are the basis of any EMDG claim to ensure that these payments relate to the promotion of the applicant's property. 

  3. Where an applicant pays a marketing consultant (either Australian or overseas) to promote a property and claims the expense at item 6 of the s.33 table, Austrade would not generally allow the actual consultants fee component because such an arrangement would be unlikely to be short term as required by item 6 of the section 33 table.

    However, where the consultant itself incurs expenses on promotional activities covered elsewhere in section 33 table (and pays for these from amounts paid by the applicant), these expenses are potentially eligible. Austrade will permit consultants' expenses to be transferred from item 6 of the section 33 table to other expense categories within the table. For example, expenses of marketing visits, advertising or communications would be eligible subject to satisfying general eligibility criteria and subject to being directly related to promotion of the applicant's property.

    Austrade will permit transfers from 'marketing consultants' (item 6) only where expenses are fully supported by invoices and payment records from the consultant and where there is evidence that the consultant has incurred direct expenses of the applicant's own promotional activity.

  4. Where an overseas representative (item 1 in the section 33 table) incurs expenses from the applicant's payments on promotional activities to promote a property where the expense type falls within the definition of items 2-6 within the section 33 table, Austrade will apply the Public Policy Ruling (PPR) 1997/1. That is, Austrade will permit transfers of expenses from item 1 to the other categories in the table only when the particular expenses are directly for the applicant's promotional activity as outlined in PPR 1997/1. Put another way, applicants can transfer expenses where these would normally be their own expense but for convenience has been incurred in the first place by the overseas representative. The examples in PPR 1997/1 are also considered relevant for this Ruling.

    Where an overseas representative is paid by an applicant for its own share of a generic advertising activity (say for an chain of companies or properties), the representative may make payments to third parties on behalf of the applicant for convenience as outlined above. Where this happens, Austrade will only permit a transfer from item 1 to item 5 of the section 33 table when there is a clear basis for identifying a direct cost of the applicant's own advertising activity.

    The assessment principle for identifying what is a direct cost for the applicant's own advertising activity is that only expenses incurred by the overseas representative on behalf of the applicant only  and in addition to the representative's normal activities can be transferred. Any expenses capable of being apportioned between properties would not satisfy this principle and will be assessed by Austrade to be part of the normal activities of the representative and assessable within item 1 of the s.33 table.

    An example of an expense which is potentially transferable from item 1 would be a brochure which only advertises the applicant's property.

© Australian Trade Commission