Jobs and Skills Australia amendment

  • Speeches
  • < 1 minute read

There is nothing more important than good, secure jobs for Australians.

For these good, secure jobs, we need to invest in skills and training.

It’s a simple proposition but one that those opposite got wrong for far too long.

The former government cut funding for our essential TAFEs.

They presided over a decade with absolutely no effective workforce planning, a decade where occupations were listed year in, year out on the skills shortage list with no effective plan to get workers trained up for these jobs.

Is it any surprise that Australia is now facing a skills shortage across far too many of our key industries?

It’s the second-largest labour supply shortage across all OECD countries, hitting our critical essential industries. 

In a report that the Morrison government refused to release, it’s predicted our care sector will face a shortage of over 200,000 workers by 2050, which includes shortages in the aged and disability care sectors, early childhood education, nursing support, personal care, registered nurses, and health and welfare service managers.

The care sector is absolutely crucial to our economy and to our nation.

We know that without action these labour shortages will only get worse.

That is why we did not waste a day investing in the skills and training that Australia needs.

We immediately funded 180,000 fee-free TAFE and vocational education places that are available right now. Fee-free TAFE changes lives.

It brings women back into the workforce and it is the unsung hero in rebuilding our care economy.

Thirty per cent of all fee-free TAFE enrolments have been in courses related to the care sector.

Overall, 60 per cent of enrolments are women, with early education and aged care amongst the most popular courses.

These include Emily and Rachel, who I met at Gippsland TAFE. 

Emily dreamed of studying nursing for eight years but, as a mother, was struggling to find the time and the money to make it a reality.

Thanks to free TAFE, her dream has been realised.

Rachel is the sole bread winner in her family and said the only way she would have been able to do her diploma was if it was free.

She now feels as though she’s been invested in and she wants to give something back to the community by training in the mental health sphere.

These are exactly the people who we need in early education, who we need in care and who we need in nursing—people who are passionate about their future careers but who missed out on the opportunity to study straight out of school, with their own caring responsibilities taking a front seat.

The more life responsibility that people have, the harder it can be to find the time and the income to study.

Fee-free TAFE is exactly what these women have been looking for to get back into work when we need them the most.

It’s training the nurses, the early childhood educators, and the disability, aged-care and community service workers that our country needs right now. 

The best way to fast-track improved workforce planning, including in the care sector, is by establishing Jobs and Skills Australia.

I’d like to highlight one of the key things the body will do, which is give advice to ministers on the impact of workplace arrangements, including insecure work, on economic and social outcomes.

This is so important, because we are not just a government that creates jobs; we are committed to creating good and secure jobs, because no-one should have to choose between taking a sick day and making their rent. 

Jobs and skills Australia will also look at what additional supports and training may be needed by those Australians who have historically been disadvantaged or excluded from the labour market because of their age, health, gender or background so that no-one is left behind.

This government is delivering on our commitments.

Whether it’s addressing the decade of neglect and inaction that caused these skills shortages or investing in the care economy, we are delivering the good secure jobs that all Australians deserve.