House debates

Wednesday, 26 August 2020

Questions without Notice

Vocational Education and Training

2:31 pm

Photo of Melissa McIntoshMelissa McIntosh (Lindsay, Liberal Party) Share this | | Hansard source

My question is to the Minister representing the Minister for Employment, Skills, Small and Family Business. Will the minister please update the House on how the Morrison government is supporting training and skills as part of our plan to drive Australia's economic recovery?

2:32 pm

Photo of Karen AndrewsKaren Andrews (McPherson, Liberal Party, Minister for Industry) Share this | | Hansard source

I thank the hardworking member for Lindsay. I know that she is very proactive in promoting local businesses in her electorate and assisting them with their skills training so that she can create opportunities, particularly for young people, in Western Sydney and in her electorate of Lindsay.

This week is National Skills Week. As Australia recovers from the economic impacts of COVID-19, supporting a skilled workforce has never been more important. Our government—

Opposition Member:

An opposition member interjecting

Photo of Karen AndrewsKaren Andrews (McPherson, Liberal Party, Minister for Industry) Share this | | Hansard source

Don't start. Just don't start. Our government are committed to ensuring that we make the skills sector more responsive to industry need, more flexible and more attractive to potential students of all ages. For too long, skills training has been viewed as the second-class citizen, the second-rate option.

Opposition members interjecting

You ripped $1.2 billion out of skills.

Photo of Tony SmithTony Smith (Speaker) Share this | | Hansard source

Members on my left!

Ms Plibersek interjecting

The member for Sydney is warned!

Photo of Karen AndrewsKaren Andrews (McPherson, Liberal Party, Minister for Industry) Share this | | Hansard source

We recognise how important skills are going to be for the future and to lead us in this recovery. We need to make sure that we are supporting businesses to help them to produce the pipeline of skilled workers that we need, because that is going to assist them as they come through this crisis. We are investing over $6.5 billion to keep apprentices in jobs, to help out-of-work Australians to reskill, to promote vocational training and to fill skills shortages.

Let me take you through just some of the ways that we are helping that to occur. We're partnering with states and territories to establish a $1 billion JobTrainer fund, to rapidly provide more Australians with access to free or low-cost training places in areas of identified skills needs. The JobTrainer fund is going to create almost 350,000 training places, starting from next month, to help upskill and retrain school leavers and jobseekers. This fund targets training that is going to give people the best opportunity of getting a job in the future and provide the skills that businesses truly need. There are many things that we are doing as a government, and I've just gone through some of them, but it is important that we recognise how significant it will be to our future to make sure that we have the skilled workforces that industry need right across Australia. We have done a lot of work in the vocational education sector to rebuild the sector, and we are now turbocharging it with JobTrainer.