GOVERNMENT MUST EXPLAIN WHY IT’S HIDING FROM SKILLS SCRUTINY

21 Nov 2018

The Morrison Government must explain why it is hiding from an international assessment of numeracy and literacy skills held by Australian adults.

Labor has received advice that the Government has withdrawn Australia from the OECD Survey of Adult Skills.

The Morrison Government must explain why it is hiding from an international assessment of numeracy and literacy skills held by Australian adults.

Labor has received advice that the Government has withdrawn Australia from the OECD Survey of Adult Skills.

The survey collects internationally recognised quantitative data for analysis of the literacy, numeracy and problem solving skills of Australian adults.

The OECD Survey of Adult Skills is relied on by governments, academics and advocates for research and to inform policy development on skill formation.

Shadow Minister for Skills, TAFE and Apprenticeships, Senator Doug Cameron, said if the Government withdraws, there will be no way of benchmarking Australia internationally, or assessing whether we are meeting national targets.

“This short sighted decision follows a pattern from this government of avoiding scrutiny and burying evidence,” Senator Cameron said.

“One of their first acts in government was to close the Australian Workplace Productivity Agency which was charged with undertaking analysis and research on how to build Australia’s skill base.”

Senator Cameron said the Abbott-Turnbull-Morrison Government has damaged adult and community education as part of its $3 billion cuts to vocational education and skills.

“The Coalition has closed down the Workplace English Language and Literacy Program, cut funding to the Skills for Education and Employment Program and is mismanaging the Adult Migrant English Program,” Senator Cameron said.

“They wasted $24 million on a bungled apprenticeship IT system and have had to admit they can’t meet their apprenticeship targets due to their failure to reach an agreement with the Victorian and Queensland governments.”

This latest attack on vocational education comes on the back of the ill-conceived $60 million ‘bush wage subsidy’, an expensive One Nation inspired policy designed to stop the National Party bleeding votes to Pauline Hanson.

“What possible justification can the Government offer for withdrawing funding to understand and benchmark adult foundation skill levels?” Senator Cameron said.

“This looks like another attempt by the Government to hide its incompetence and failure to develop and implement good policy on skills formation.

“Skills Minister Michaelia Cash needs to come clean on what is happening with the Survey of Adult Skills – and assure Australians that they will participate, along with others in the international community, to take action on adult literacy, language and numeracy skills.”