House debates

Tuesday, 13 February 2024

Questions without Notice


2:55 pm

Photo of Steve GeorganasSteve Georganas (Adelaide, Australian Labor Party) Share this | | Hansard source

My question as to the Minister for Skills and Training. How are Labor tax cuts supporting more apprentice tradies to complete their training while keeping more of what they earn? Why is this support for apprentices so important?

2:56 pm

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

I thank the member for Adelaide for his question and for his strong advocacy for apprentices and the VET sector in his electorate and beyond. It was great to be with the member for Adelaide just before Christmas as we visited a great company in Adelaide, Bianco construction, where we spoke with apprentices. I think we spoke to the apprentice boilermaker, Isaiah, and to the apprentice carpenter, Bailey. They were so proud of the fact that they were undertaking training in an area of demand. They love their trades. But they were honest, too, and said that it was very difficult to make ends meet on apprenticeship wages. It's not easy and we know that. For that reason, we have to do better as a country to provide support for these apprentices.

At the moment, our apprenticeship completion numbers over the last 10 years have been as low as 55 per cent, so I will have more to say about what we will do to improve completion rates of apprentices but we have to do more. It's also fair to say that this government understands the cost-of-living pressures across our economy for everyone, including apprentices. For that reason, this government wants to provide support for all Australians and that's why we are giving every taxpayer a tax cut from 1 July; that's what we're doing. Of course, that means we can provide support for apprentices who are on relatively low wages to ensure we do the right thing by them.

Like any good policy, most good policy serves more than one aim. It realises more than one ambition, so not only will we provide cost-of-living relief for apprentices, we will also increase the likelihood of them staying connected to their training so they can actually finish their apprenticeship and supply the skills to our economy which are much needed. For that reason, I very much appreciate the fact that we are going to support these apprentices.

I would just like to inform the House what these apprentices will be receiving from 1 July. A first-year apprentice 'sparkie' will be getting over $500 from 1 July under the Albanese Labor government's tax plans. A third-year adult apprentice plumber will be receiving in excess of $800 under our tax cut plans. A second-year hairdresser apprentice will receive $500, so too a first-year carpenter. A third-year VET trained early childhood educator will be receiving $804 from 1 July and so too will the adult apprentice working in aged care. Also, a junior boilermaking apprentice will be in receipt of $654. This is very important support for apprentices in this country; it's critical. If it was left of those opposite, they would not be receiving a cent under those opposite.