House debates

Tuesday, 17 October 2023

Statements by Members

National Skills Agreement

1:47 pm

Photo of Fiona PhillipsFiona Phillips (Gilmore, Australian Labor Party) Share this | | Hansard source

Today is a great day, with the announcement of the landmark National Skills Agreement. When I was a TAFE teacher, I helped some of the most vulnerable in my communities back into training and then on to work. It's one of the reasons I entered politics. One day my students—mums who had never worked outside the home before but, due to changed life circumstances, needed to—told me that they weren't getting the help they needed and they came to TAFE for help. I helped a lot of people when I worked at TAFE. Many went on to study in areas like community services or did their tertiary preparation course.

But under the state and federal Liberal governments I saw TAFE decimated. There's one thing my communities fully understand, and that is the importance of TAFE. They know that rebuilding TAFE is essential to make sure we have people trained in essential jobs. It's why in New South Wales 100,000 people have enrolled with our fee-free TAFE, helping ease the cost of living. It's why we've committed over 300,000 fee-free TAFE places from 2024. Today we go further. I'm thrilled to be part of the Albanese government, which has today announced the National Skills Agreement, which will see TAFE back at the cornerstone where it belongs. I talk with local employers, and they tell me how hard it is to find workers. My message for employers is that this National Skills Agreement is about to turbocharge training and TAFE and lift workforce participation. That's great for individuals, employers and all our communities.