LABOR WELCOMES BUSINESS COUNCIL AUSTRALIA ENGAGEMENT IN SKILLS AND TRAINING

12 Oct 2017

Labor welcomes today’s policy contribution to the debate around skills and training by the Business Council of Australia.

Labor welcomes today’s policy contribution to the debate around skills and training by the Business Council of Australia.

Despite the government’s reforms to the VET Student Loans Scheme, there is still a great deal of work needed in order to fix the problems associated with competitive markets in training and the rorts that plague the private training sector. For too long, we have seen students take on significant debt for low quality, not fit-for-purpose qualifications.

Unless these issues are fixed, proposals for lifelong skills accounts when combined with a market mechanism for vocational education and training (VET) will simply lead to further cost shifting from industry and employers to individuals, without any guarantee that will lead to quality educational outcomes.

Labor is of the view that unless a proper assessment is made of the employer contributions to training then proposing significant changes without a proper information base is destined to fail. When the Coalition axed the Australian Workplace Productivity Agency it meant there is no appropriate body analysing the contribution of employers to skills and training in Australia.

Government and business must jointly accept responsibility for increasing and improving investment in VET. It is not good enough to simply increase the burden on households via student debt – particularly when calling for cuts to corporate tax rates.

In contrast to the Turnbull Government’s cuts, Labor has announced policies that will boost investment in vocational education and training, increase the number of trainees and apprenticeships, and rebuild TAFE.

The Turnbull government’s position on VET funding is woeful. Their proposed Skilling Australians Fund is deeply flawed, it is insecure and relies exclusively on fees for foreign worker visas. That’s a recipe for disaster.

Labor will continue to work with unions, state and territory governments, industry, training providers and TAFE, to ensure that vocational education and training is given the priority it deserves, and TAFE is returned to its rightful place as the iconic provider of training to the Australian workforce.