House debates

Monday, 26 September 2022

Questions without Notice

Jobs and Skills Australia Bill 2022

2:51 pm

Photo of Brendan O'ConnorBrendan O'Connor (Gorton, Australian Labor Party, Minister for Skills and Training) Share this | Hansard source

I thank the member for Spence for his question and, of course, his long advocacy for training in the transport sector and representing workers in that field. Today, this chamber passed the Jobs and Skills Australia Bill. It's a very important bill. It wasn't coincidental that the Prime Minister and this government sought to have that bill be the first introduced into the parliament this parliamentary term. It's because we know how important it is for us to find the right vehicle to advise government and, indeed, advise industry to supply the skills that are in demand now but also to forecast more precisely the areas of emerging demand. We believe that JSA will provide that vehicle, and that's really important.

While I'm on my feet responding to the question from the member for Spence, I'd like to thank the members for Indi, Kennedy and Goldstein. They engaged with me and my office about the bill, and in fact we moved an amendment today reflecting those discussions, which was passed on the voices in this chamber. I did engage with the opposition and we did engage with the crossbench. We do so because we're a government that want to actually engage with the parliament and get things right. When we said we wanted to create a body, we wanted to do so but have a proper level of engagement in this chamber and in the other place, and that's what we're doing—implementing the policies we promised before the last election and doing so in a considered fashion. If a member in this chamber has a good proposition for a bill that I've introduced, I'm very happy to engage with that member. That's what's happened here today, improving a bill to ensure that we emphasise the need not only to identify skills shortages in our economy but also to think of ways in which we can prevent people from being impeded from access to the labour market, whether they be First Nations people, people with disability or people over 55, who have often been discriminated against in this country. In particular, we need to do better to provide opportunities for women to access the labour market, or provide more opportunities within the labour market. JSA can play a role in assisting government and industry to do that as well.

This is an important bill. We want this bill to be discussed and debated in the other place, and we'd like to see it enacted soon. We inherited a very significant, acute skills shortage in this nation. We need to supply the skills that employers are crying out for, that workers need for secure employment and that our economy needs, which, of course, will benefit from a skilled and knowledgeable workforce; that will make it a more productive economy and, indeed, a more successful country.


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