Scott Morrison should use his visit to Queensland today to announce restored funding for apprentices and trainees.
Minister for Training and Skills Development Shannon Fentiman said the 2019-20 Federal Budget delivered more cuts to training and skills.
“After Abbott and Turnbull racked up more than $3 Billion in cuts to TAFE and Training, Scott Morrison followed through with his own cuts in the latest Federal Budget,” Ms Fentiman said.
“We’ve see. the Skilling Australia Fund decrease by $649 million - reduction of more than 50 per cent.
“While the Budget delivered $525 million with one hand, it snatched away $649 million with the other.
“As I said following the federal budget, Scott Morrison’s so-called Skills Package was actually a cuts package off more than $120 million for the nation’s training budget.”
Queensland declined to sign a deal reliant on the now failed Skilling Australia Fund not only because of the onerous conditions it would have placed on Queensland, but because it also provided no funding certainty.
“Other states who signed that agreement received a shock to not only see more cuts coming down the line but also see their agreements devalued by the combined total of more than $83 million,” Ms Fentiman said.
“Apprentices need funding certainty for the duration of their apprenticeship.”
According to the Budget papers, the 300,000 projected apprentices and trainees the Fund was originally slated to deliver has now been cut to just 80,000.
“This is no way to address the supply problem the nation faces in skills, neither is their $8,000 employer incentive up to scratch with what Queensland is already doing,” the Minister said.
“Scott Morrison’s weak imitation of our Back to Work program, which provides up to $20,000 for young apprentices, has a long way to go to catch up to Queensland’s leadership on this issue.
“And this is after we’ve seen a massive decline of 140,000 apprentices on their watch and after they cut the tools for trade program for apprentices.
“Without our fair share from Canberra, the Palaszczuk Government continues to invest in a range of programs that support people to access training and skills through our $777.9 million VET Investment Plan.
“And we are delivering results - In the last 12 months to September 2018 Queensland had the second highest result in the country with 21,600 apprentice and traineeship completions.
“This represents a quarter of all completions in the nation.
“Imagine the results we can deliver with a Federal government willing to invest and grow funding for apprentices and trainees.”
Minister for Employment and Small Business and Minister for Training and Skills Development
The Honourable Shannon Fentiman