Budget Needs a Traning and Skills Focus

TRAINING AND SKILLS FACE BUDGET CUTS

Sharon Bird, Shadow Minister for Vocational Education, today endorsed the Australian Industry Group’s comments regarding the importance of skills funding in the 2013-14 Budget.

The Rudd and Gillard governments invested over $19.6 billion in total skills funding between 2008-09 and 2012-13.  In response to an Estimates Question on Notice on skills funding recently the Government was unable to clarify whether this level of funding would be maintained:

QUESTION No.: SI-137

The previous Government invested over $19.6 billion in total skills funding between 2008-09 and 2012-13. Will the Government maintain this level of investment, or will there be a decrease of total skills funding?

ANSWER

The Government is considering its priorities and the effectiveness of current funding arrangements.

“The Ai Group rightly points out that ‘…a weakening economy is clearly not the time for deep program cuts’ and this is of particular concern given the job losses in Victoria and South Australia recently,” Sharon Bird said.

“I also support the Ai Group’s calls to retain support for the National Workforce Development Program and literacy and numeracy skills programs for workers.

“It is obvious in many industries there is an ongoing need to upgrade and expand the skill levels of existing workers to meet the emerging demands of the industry sector.  In Government Labor worked in cooperation with employers to achieve this outcome.

 “The Prime Minister has stood by and done nothing while thousands of jobs have been lost in recent months. Cutting the investments in training and skills that Labor has made would be another huge blow for our workforce, and will result in more jobs being lost.  

“I call on Minister Macfarlane to commit to maintaining or increasing skills funding in the upcoming Budget,” Sharon Bird said.

WEDNESDAY, 12 FEBRUARY 2014