The Prime Minister appears to have misled apprentices by claiming they would be able to access Trade Support Loans from tomorrow, despite legislation not even passing the Parliament.
The Prime Minister, in his message to the nation last night, has said that apprentices are able to apply for these loans:
And from this week, there’ll be new concessional Trade Support Loans available to apprentices learning a trade. This will help apprentices to complete their studies.
[A Message from the Prime Minister, 29 June 2014]
Following the Government’s failure to have the Trade Support Loans Bill debated in the Senate last week, apprentices will now be in limbo from tomorrow with the current Tools for your Trade program ending at midnight tonight.
Minister Macfarlane needs to advise the Prime Minister whether he got it wrong in his message last night. This Prime Minister clearly has no idea how much his budget is hurting Australians if he can't get the most basic details right.
It's bad enough to cut $1 billion in assistance to apprentices, but it's diabolical that apprentices will be left in the lurch because the government's legislative program is a shambles.
The Minister needs clarify how it’s possible for apprentices to access Trade Support Loans:
- How are apprentices able to access the loans if there is no legislative framework in place?
- Have protections have been put in place for school based apprentices aged under 18?
- Have the privacy provisions in the legislation been strengthened to ensure that apprentices personal information is protected?
The next semester of TAFE will commence shortly and apprentices will need new books and equipment – apprentices need to know where they stand in relation to the Trade Support Loans.
If the loans are not available, the Minister must step up and re-introduce the Tools for Your Trade program so that apprentices aren’t left to suffer even more without access to any assistance while the Government sorts this mess out.
MONDAY, 30 JUNE 2014