Sharon Bird, Shadow Minister for Vocational Education, today called on Joe Hockey to guarantee there will be no more cuts to the skills portfolio following his announcement today that he is looking for more cuts to try and save his shambolic Budget.
“There is hardly anything left to cut in the skills sector. If the Treasurer axes any more funding from the skills sector, the economy, jobs and people’s employment prospects will be under threat,” Sharon Bird said.
“The Abbott Government has made massive and damaging cuts to the skills budget by slashing all the programs that help train our workers – from apprenticeships through to mature aged workers who are looking to improve their skills or retrain.
In the Budget the Abbott Government axed the $1 billion Tools for Your Trade program and then slashed a further $1 billion in investment in skills by axing these programs:
- National Workforce Development Fund
- Workplace English Language and Literacy Programme
- Australian Apprenticeships Access Programme
- Accelerated Australian Apprenticeships Programme
- Australian Apprenticeships Mentoring Programme
- National Partnership Agreement on Training Places for Single Parents
- Alternative Pathways Programme
- Apprenticeship to Business Owner Programme
- Productive Ageing through Community Education
- Step Into Skills Programme
The Government announced a much smaller program, the Industry Skills Fund, in the Budget. On 18 June 2014, Minister Macfarlane advised the Parliament that details for the Fund would be available at the end of June.
Mr IAN MACFARLANE: The skills fund guidelines are still being finalised but when they are I will be happy to provide you with a full briefing.
Ms Bird interjecting—
Mr IAN MACFARLANE: Very soon is the answer to that, hopefully by 30 June.
Federation Chamber Hansard, 18 June 2014
“Following the Treasurer’s comments this morning, I now have grave concerns for the future of the Industry Skills Fund as no details have been put forward by the Minister.
“I call on Joe Hockey and Minister Macfarlane to guarantee that there will be no more cuts to the Industry Skills Fund or any other skills and training programs in the Industry portfolio as they try and fix this shambolic Budget.
“This government lied to the people before the election on skills and they provided no information on the savage cuts that they implemented in the Budget. If they make any more cuts they would rightly stand condemned for failing the Australian people.
WEDNESDAY, 16 JULY 2014