House debates

Monday, 21 November 2022

Questions without Notice


3:07 pm

Photo of Louise Miller-FrostLouise Miller-Frost (Boothby, Australian Labor Party) Share this | | Hansard source

My question is to the Minister for Skills and Training. How is the Albanese Labor government working with states and territories, particularly South Australia, to ensure that we're addressing the skills shortage the government inherited?

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

I'd like to thank the member for Boothby for her question. In fact, I'd like to thank her for accompanying me and the skills and education minister of South Australia to announce an agreement last Friday to dedicate VET places to the South Australian economy. These are places that are needed to fill the skills gaps across the country. We've just listened to the health minister explain what we inherited under those opposite. We didn't just inherit a $1 trillion debt; we inherited a massive skills deficit. That's why we need to make sure we strike agreements with all governments in order to deliver those fee-free TAFE and VET places to ensure that we have skills for our economy.

Those 12,500 additional VET places for South Australia for 2023 will provide a supply of labour and skills into that economy, and it's fair to say that the extra $65 million was welcomed by the South Australian government. It will ensure 4,000 additional fee-free places in the aged-care and care sector, 3,000 places in hospitality and tourism and 2½ thousand places for the construction sector. We have places going into technology, digital and agriculture. We have 500 additional places for sovereign capability as well as other places, like education, foundation skills and the creative industries. We are ensuring that we supply those workers who have the skills that are in demand in this labour market.

We understand that whilst the nation has skills shortages, each state and territory has particular demands. Some have shortages in some areas and not so much in others. That's why a partnership between state and territory governments is so important. That's why we're striking agreements in each state and territory to deliver on those skills that are required. And these 12,500 places are of course part of the announcement we made at the Jobs and Skills Summit to have 180,000 VET and TAFE fee-free places for 2023. It's that investment that will provide the skills that our economy needs, that employers are crying out for, and that workers need make sure they are in demand and that they can have secure work. That's why it's so important.

I was really happy with the fact that it happened at Tonsley TAFE too. If you think of the history of that precinct, it was a place that only 15 years ago lost many workers when a car maker left our shores and disappeared. What we're seeing now is revival and renovation and complete investment in areas of demand. I pay tribute to the South Australian government for its efforts and its partnership, and I look forward to engaging with more governments before the end of this year to ensure that we deliver these places that are in need.