The ACTU welcomes the ALP’s commitment to a genuine tripartite planning process on skills training, as outlined in the roundtable with employers and unions held this morning.

The ALP’s commitment to establish Jobs and Skills Australia will include ensuring that training products are aligned with the skills required by industry, as well as meeting industry standards.

Under successive Liberal governments, the skills and training sector has fallen into disrepair and experienced funding cuts.

VET and TAFE funding is $8 billion lower since the Coalition Government was elected in 2013, and there are 60,000 fewer apprentices in training at 30 June 2021 compared to 30 June 2013.

The consultative approach committed to by the ALP this morning has been lacking in recent years; Australia is experiencing an unprecedented shortage of skilled workers, with less apprentices and trainees completing their qualifications.

Quotes attributable to ACTU President Michele O’Neil:

“A strong, fit-for-purpose skills and training sector in Australia is always absolutely crucial, but in particular as our country tries to rebuild post-pandemic.

“Ensuring a seat at the table for unions, as well as government and businesses, means that the needs of workers are considered in the skills and training decision-making process.

“Australia’s skills and training sector, if properly funded and designed, will provide a pathway to secure, well paid work for millions of Australian workers.

“Reforms in the skills and training sector are something that should’ve happened a long time ago. This is a welcome step in addressing years of Morrison Government negligence and neglect.”