House debates

Thursday, 11 May 2023


Jobs and Skills Australia Amendment Bill 2023; Consideration in Detail

5:44 pm

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

I present a supplementary explanatory memorandum to this bill, and I seek leave to move government amendments (1) and (2) as circulated together.

Leave granted.

I move:

(1) Schedule 1, item 31, page 9 (lines 28 and 29), omit paragraphs 16B(1)(c) and (d), substitute:

(c) 4 members representing employee organisations;

(d) 4 members representing employer organisations;

(2) Schedule 1, item 31, page 10 (after line 16), after subparagraph 16B(4)(a)(ix), insert:

(ixa) regional, rural and remote Australia;

The government amendments to the bill will expand representation in Jobs and Skills Australia's governance arrangements to ensure its analysis and advice continue to be informed by tripartite expertise, knowledge and lived experience of the labour market and skills systems. That includes those in small business and those in regional, rural and remote Australia. I would like in particular to thank the member for Indi for her continued good-faith engagement on Jobs and Skills Australia. The government has accepted the substance of the member's proposed amendment to this bill, and it will be included in the government amendments.

The government amendment recognises the importance of regional, rural and remote Australians and the expertise, knowledge and lived experience they can provide to the proposed Ministerial Advisory Board. That's why we're ensuring they're given a voice in the tripartite model which will be enshrined in legislation. The government is determined to maintain genuine partnerships with stakeholders and always acknowledges the importance of small business to Australia's economy and our workforce and the importance of small-business expertise in understanding the labour market and skills related issues faced in the economy.

We know that over 2.5 million small and family businesses are operating in Australia, representing 97 per cent of all Australian businesses, with many experiencing skill shortages, including access to skills development for small-business owners and operators themselves. To recognise our commitment to ensuring small business continues to have a voice in Jobs and Skills Australia's advice, the government has proposed an amendment to the composition of its tripartite Ministerial Advisory Board. The number of members representing the interests of employers will increase from three to four, allowing scope to guarantee the appointment of a member representing the interests of small business. To ensure industry balance of the board, the number of members representing workers will similarly increase from three to four. These amendments will ensure that Jobs and Skills Australia's analysis and advice will be even better informed by the experiences of those in the labour market, which enables government to develop targeted policies, programs and funding to address issues within the jobs and skills system.


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