Government’s skills training fund faces uphill battle

by Brett Henebery05 Jun 2017
The Australian Federal Government’s plan to establish a new ongoing $1.5bn Skilling Australians Fund is facing opposition from the States who say they were blindsided by the announcement.
The vocational training fund will create up to an extra 300,000 apprentices over the next four years. This includes apprentices, trainees and “higher level skilled Australians”.
On Friday, Federal Assistant Skills Minister, Karen Andrews, met with her state and territory counterparts, some of whom hit out at the plan for lacking detail and being introduced without consultation.
The Victorian, Queensland and South Australian skills ministers have called for a new national partnership agreement, saying the lack of a national skills funding model risked discouraging Australians from training.
Victoria’s Skills and Training Minister, Gayle Tierney, said her state would be $40m worse off than under with the current deal.
“There’s no plan, no details and no consultation. Perhaps the Commonwealth can learn something from us if they engage in a constructive conversation that’s in the interests of students and industry,” Tierney said in a statement.
Meanwhile, NSW Skills Minister, John Barilaro, said he expects the Federal Government to offer a one-year extension to the current national partnership agreement, which expires on June 30.
Details of the skills fund – including the people and courses eligible for funding, and mechanisms to ensure the states increase their own skills spending – will be outlined  at a meeting this Friday.

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