House debates

Wednesday, 26 February 2020

Statements by Members


1:36 pm

Photo of Joanne RyanJoanne Ryan (Lalor, Australian Labor Party) Share this | | Hansard source

I rise today to draw the attention of the House to the trades crisis that we have in this country. Figures released today show that 140,000 apprentices have been lost under the watch of those opposite. This is an absolute crying shame. I taught in schools and taught young people who dreamt of being a tradesperson, dreamt about getting an apprenticeship as a plumber. And what do we find today? We find that those numbers are dropping. In Lalor, there are almost 400 fewer apprentices today than there were in September in 2013, and that is despite state government offering free TAFE to try and fill the gap left by this government doing nothing for seven years about our trashed TAFE sector.

I want to say this, because I think it's really important: this is not the time to give your mate Scott Cam a job, because he can't fix this. I'll tell you what can fix this: pulling together some people from the TAFE sector, from the industry sector and from business and having a good, strong conversation. This is not a culture war. This is about business thinking sometimes that there's a production line and off the end pops an apprentice or a tradesman. They don't. You need to put them on. You need to train them. Our young people deserve this; our country needs this. Please, Prime Minister, do better.