The peak body for working people in Australia has slammed a report from the Productivity Commission into training and apprenticeships funding that recommends cutting apprentice wages and conditions, and is calling on the government to take responsibility for the skills and training crisis they have created.

The ACTU says the report ignores the true causes of the issues in VET and instead recommends, with zero evidence, cutting apprentice wages and conditions

It only serves to further the Productivity Commission and the Morrison Government’s shared obsession with cutting workers’ wages, and distract from the real issues facing apprentices and vocational education in Australia. 

Quotes attributable to ACTU President Michele O’Neil:

“Unsurprisingly, the Productivity Commission have defaulted to their favourite tactic of cutting workers’ wages instead of tackling the real problem.

“There is a skills and apprenticeship crisis in this country, but the idea that that has anything to do with apprentice wages is absolutely laughable.

“Successive Liberal governments have spent 7 years decimating our country’s vocational education system.

“This government continues to blatantly ignore the apprenticeship and skills crisis that has gotten much worse under their watch.

“Between 2014 and 2019, 140,000 apprentice and trainee positions disappeared while the government sat back and did nothing.

“TAFE funding has been gutted and thousands of TAFE teachers around the country have lost their jobs as a result.

“Young people’s jobs and apprenticeships have been particularly hard hit by the pandemic. What’s needed is direct government support for TAFEs, increased apprenticeships and new job creation programs.

“The Morrison Government needs to take responsibility for what they’ve done, instead of getting their mates over at the Productivity Commission to run interference by attacking working people.”