House debates

Wednesday, 21 October 2020

Questions without Notice


2:35 pm

Photo of Ross VastaRoss Vasta (Bonner, 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 outline to the House how the Morrison government's plan for economic recovery is supporting a skilled workforce through our JobTrainer package to help businesses and provide more job opportunities, including in my electorate of Bonner?

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

I thank the member for Bonner for his question. I had the pleasure last week of meeting some young apprentices in his electorate, and they know that this government has their back. They know that, from the start, JobTrainer has been a crucial part of our plan for economic recovery from the COVID recession, and businesses right across Australia know it too.

Rob from Specialist Electrical Solutions at Murarrie, in the member's electorate—and they're a great Aussie business—knows it too. They are great Aussie manufacturers. They design, make and export high-quality complex electrical switchboards for some of the biggest switchboard projects right across the world. Rob has just signed on two new apprentices, and that adds to the six that they already have. Thanks to the instant asset write-off, he's also started a new business around automated copper bar punching, and that's creating another five jobs. They used to outsource that work to China and Thailand but they are bringing that home to Australia—

A government member: To Queensland.

to Queensland—and that is exactly the sort of activity that we as a government are supporting with our strong economic plan. There are many positive signs, but we know that we are not out of the woods yet. That's why we are investing almost $7 billion to boost skills training, and we're making sure that people are trained in the skill areas that their businesses are going to need for the future.

We're also very focused on making sure that we have a workforce that has significant digital skills, and we're making sure that people have the opportunity to upgrade those skills so that they can add more value to the jobs that they are already doing, or, alternatively, that they can skill-up for other jobs that they may be able to move into. It's very important that we bring industry with us on this journey, and that is exactly what we are doing.

I do want to give a shout-out to the tech sector, because they are doing some amazing work. I've had a number of discussions with them about making sure that they have the digital skills in the workforce that they need for the future. As the result of a discussion that we had back in April, when the discussion very quickly went to digital skills, the tech sector have stepped up. They've taken the initiative and launched Skill Finder, which is an online marketplace where people can get the technical and digital skills that are going to be immediately useful to them in their jobs, and, of course, to their employer. So we back the digital economy and we are very committed to growing it in Australia. (Time expired)