House debates

Monday, 2 March 2020

Statements by Members

Vocational Education and Training

1:39 pm

Photo of Emma McBrideEmma McBride (Dobell, Australian Labor Party, Shadow Assistant Minister for Mental Health) Share this | | Hansard source

New data from the education department reveals the Central Coast has lost 1,140 apprentices and trainees under the Liberals. Around 140,000 apprentices and trainees have been lost across Australia. It's hurting our economy and denying locals jobs. There are now shortages of bricklayers, plumbers, hairdressers, bakers, electricians, mechanics, panel beaters and other critical trades across Australia. This is a skills crisis. It's holding back local businesses and denying locals jobs. Businesses on the coast want to grow and hire more locals but are being let down by the Liberals' failure on training. The Australian Industry Group says 75 per cent of businesses are struggling to find qualified workers. There are almost two million Australians looking for work or for more hours.

On the Central Coast, we have a long-term youth unemployment rate stuck around 12 per cent. Young people on the coast need employment opportunities through apprenticeships and traineeships. When the Liberals came to power, there were 4,709 apprentices on the Central Coast. Now there are 3,569. That's a drop of 25 per cent. My electorate of Dobell had 2,401, which has fallen to 1,841, a loss of 560 apprenticeships. The Liberals have cut around $3 billion from TAFE and training. This is forcing more people to drop out of vocational education and training courses than finish them. By locking Australians out of skills and training, the Liberals are locking Australians out of jobs.