MYEFO DOES NOTHING FOR APPRENTICEHIPS AND PUTS AT RISK NAVAL SHIPBUILDING SKILLS

19 Dec 2017

The 2017 MYEFO statement does nothing to arrest the decline in skills and apprenticeships seen under the Turnbull government and Assistant Minister Karen Andrews.

SENATOR THE HON DOUG CAMERON

SHADOW MINISTER FOR HOUSING AND HOMELESSNESS

SHADOW MINISTER FOR SKILLS, TAFE AND APPRENTICESHIPS

SENATOR FOR NEW SOUTH WALES

MYEFO DOES NOTHING FOR APPRENTICEHIPS AND PUTS AT RISK NAVAL SHIPBUILDING SKILLS

 

The 2017 MYEFO statement does nothing to arrest the decline in skills and apprenticeships seen under the Turnbull government and Assistant Minister Karen Andrews.

Having failed to negotiate a new national agreement or set up its flawed Skilling Australians Fund, the government has not put any significant Commonwealth funding into skills to make up for their series of cuts.

Nothing has replaced the $119.1 million in funding cut from the sector by axing the Industry Skills Fund (ISF) in MYEFO 2016, nor the $247.2 million cut in the 2016-17 Budget, nor the $273.8 million cut in December 2015.

Consequently the skill system is in crisis. Although skills are critical to our economy and future prosperity, the Turnbull government is showing no urgency or leadership, instead overseeing a decline of over 140,000 apprenticeships and traineeships since coming to office.

Deeply concerning is their failure to deliver in the crucial naval shipbuilding sector. The existing skills in the industry are at risk of being lost while the government takes no action on workforce development.

The promised naval shipbuilding college is still not finalised when it was supposed to start on 1 January 2018.

There is still no strategic workforce plan for naval shipbuilding– in response to questions on notice from Labor, the Department of Defence says it remains ‘in development’.

This is simply not good enough. The government is sitting on their hands while workers and industry stakeholders need decisions to be made.

MYEFO shows the government is all adjectives and no action when it comes to skills development. In the meantime people are losing jobs and skills are exiting the industry, putting at risk the Australian workforce content in naval shipbuilding.

Only Labor has the commitment to a cooperative and constructive approach required for skills development, including in the critically important naval shipbuilding sector.

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

Labor will restore the $637 million cut by the Turnbull government from VET funding in the 2017 Budget.

Labor will make TAFE the centrepiece of our training system by guaranteeing at least two-thirds of all government VET funding goes to TAFE and by investing $100 million in revitalising campuses across the country.

Labor will ensure that one in ten jobs on all Commonwealth priority projects are apprentices and trainees, and Labor will expand pre-apprentice programs for young jobseekers and invest in Advanced Entry Adult Apprenticeships for workers in transition.

Failure to deal effectively with skills will reduce our international competitiveness and leave Australian industries falling further behind in international rankings and unable to capitalise on opportunities in global value chains.

The 2017 MYEFO statement is another wasted opportunity from this divided and dysfunctional Turnbull government to do something positive about skills and apprenticeships.

TUESDAY, 19 DECEMBER 2017