Administrative Appeal Tribunal

When I decided to produce the 30th Anniversary CMI (CMI-30A), I incorporated Fairlight Instruments Pty Ltd. The Fairlight Instruments company I had started in 1975 had been deregistered in 1992. 

The new Fairlight Instruments made a claim to Austrade for an Export Market Development Grant in 2012. Under this scheme, 40% of costs of marketing for export could be reimbursed. 

Austrade rejected the claim, because under the Export Market Development Grants Act 1974, an applicant can receive a maximum of 7 grants, and the old Fairlight Instruments had received more than this.  Even though the old and new companies were different legal entities, this is of no consequence if a grant applicant’s new business is similar to an old business to such an extent that the CEO of Austrade is satisfied that the new business should be treated as a continuation of the old business.  

Initially I engaged Austrade’s internal review process. The decision was affirmed, so I made an application for review by the Administrative Appeals Tribunal. I presented evidence that although the new CMI looked just like the old one, it was completely new, and that the new business was making replica instruments whereas the original business was not. I also compared the old and new businesses according to guidelines published by the Minister and took the Tribunal to several relevant prior rulings on which I relied as authorities.

The Tribunal accepted my submissions and set aside the Australian Trade Commission’s ruling, and the grant was promptly approved and paid by Austrade: Fairlight Instruments Pty Ltd v Australian Trade Commission [2013] AATA 231