The Jobs and Skills Australia Bill 2022 and the associated Skills Australia (National Skills Commissioner Repeal) Bill 2022 were introduced to the Parliament on 27 July 2022. They are now the subject of inquiry by the Senate Education and Employment Legislation Committee.  The ACTU makes this submission to that inquiry.

The ACTU welcomes the commitment of the new Federal Government to establish Jobs and Skills Australia – a critical centre piece to provide much needed coordination in rebuilding Australia’s skills system. We acknowledge that the body set up by the current Bill under consideration is intended to be an interim one until a permanent model for the JSA can be established. As the Explanatory Memorandum for the Bill states:

“Establishing Jobs and Skills Australia will enable its critical work to commence immediately while more extensive consultation on the permanent model for Jobs and Skills Australia occurs. Following consultation, including as part of the Jobs and Skills Summit, the Government will introduce a new Bill to establish Jobs and Skills Australia’s permanent functions, structure and governance arrangements”.

As a measure to make quick progress in setting up a permanent JSA, we welcome this Bill. We also look forward to working with the Government and other key stakeholders, including industry, to develop what that permanent body is and how it functions. In that regard, this submission provides more detail on what the ACTU would like to see JSA become.

The ACTU recommends that the Committee:

  1. Support the Bills to set up the interim JSA.
  2. Encourage the Government to fully consult industry and union organisations on the formation of a permanent JSA.
  3. Endorse the commitment to establish a permanent JSA as an independent statutory authority, and with the power, functions and governance as outlined in this submission.  
  4. Encourage the Government to fully consult with the CPSU with regard to the staffing arrangements for the wind-up of the National Skills Commission and the establishment of the JSA.