DEFENCE EXPORTS PLAN WILL FAIL WITHOUT SKILLED AUSTRALIAN WORKERS

30 Jan 2018

The Turnbull government won’t be able to deliver on its vaunted ‘defence export strategy’ without skilled workers, and the government has failed time and again to address the problems in this policy area.

DEFENCE EXPORTS PLAN WILL FAIL WITHOUT SKILLED AUSTRALIAN WORKERS

The Turnbull government won’t be able to deliver on its vaunted ‘defence export strategy’ without skilled workers, and the government has failed time and again to address the problems in this policy area.

The OECD recently found Australia unable to capitalise on opportunities in global value chains due to our lack of investment and policy action and leadership on skills development.

Without a plan to turn that around – and the Turnbull government has no such plan – the government’s ‘strategy’ is nothing but hollow words.

A skilled workforce is the first and most fundamental basis of a high-tech manufacturing export sector. Yet the Turnbull government has cut around $3 billion from TAFE and vocational education and training (VET) since coming to power.

Apprenticeships have declined by  nearly 145,000 under the Liberals, with trade apprenticeships completions down by over 20 per cent since they took office.

The government has failed to come to an agreement with the States and Territories for a new National Skills Partnership and no deal is in sight.

Their one idea, announced in May 2017 and no closer to being delivered nearly a year later, is for a Skilling Australians Fund (SAF) which is totally reliant on visa fees from foreign workers. The government is pursuing this clearly flawed plan despite fierce criticism from the sector.

Disinvestment and hostility to TAFE and the VET sector are hallmarks of this government. The Assistant Minister is clearly out of her depth.

As a consequence Australian industries are falling further behind in international rankings and missing out on opportunities in global value chains.

In contrast, Labor’s plan for jobs and skills development will see increased investment in TAFE and increased quality traineeships and apprenticeships.

MONDAY, 29 JANUARY 2018