31 Jan 2017

Labor will establish a new skills and training agenda with business and unions to create more jobs, boost productivity and competitiveness.

Our plan will create new jobs, sustain existing jobs, train and re-train Australians who are looking for jobs as well as those who have lost their jobs and need to reskill.

We will kick-start this approach by convening a National Skills Summit to bring together business leaders, experts, unions, education providers and workers.

The National Skills Summit will look at the best ideas from around the world to build the best system for the future.

This starts with making sure our school system is strong. It's also about rebuilding TAFE, restoring it as the backbone of Australia’s skills and training system.

We also need to reform the system so that it better allocates funding and ensures that the skills that are being taught are better matched with the needs of business and the economy.

There are three fundamental principles that will guide Labor’s plans:

  1. All Australians should have access to the skills and training they need for a decent job and a good life – and to actively participate in the community.
  2. All sectors of the economy – government, business and unions – must share responsibility for designing a high quality and seamless tertiary education system – producing job-ready graduates.
  3. Every dollar of government funding should be directed to achieving the best student outcomes and the best employment opportunities – not boosting private profits for training providers.

For too long, the Liberals have treated skills and training with disdain – cutting $2.5 billion from skills and training and undermining TAFE while Australia has shed 128,000 apprenticeships. Meanwhile, youth unemployment in many parts of Australia is well over 20 per cent. 

Australians are paying the price – through lower growth and fewer local jobs.  Many employers are now looking to take the easy way out by importing workers from overseas rather than employing Australians. This needs to change.

Labor would welcome the Government choosing to be part of the National Skills Summit.