After cutting $2 billion in funding to skills over the past two years, the Liberals have again taken the axe to skills funding with a cut of almost $400 million in today’s MYEFO taking the total to almost $2.5 billion since their election.
Malcolm Turnbull promised new leadership but he has now cut $273.8 million over four years from the Industry Skills Fund and $122.9 million from the Skills for Education and Employment (SEE) Program.
The Liberals introduced their self-titled “signature” Industry Skills Fund in their first Budget and already they have cut more than a third of funding from the $664 million program. At a time when most industries need to become more productive and innovative through up-skilling their workforce Malcolm Turnbull has chosen to turn his back on this critical task.
Christmas is definitely not a time for cheer for jobseekers looking to develop speaking, reading, writing or basic maths skills to help them get and keep a job. Last year’s MYEFO cut the SEE program by $43.8 million – this year it is worse with a whopping cut of $122.9 million.
There is also no joy for Joint Group Training which had its funding cut completely this year. Joint Group Training plays a critical role in helping small and medium businesses to take on and retain apprentices.
In fact, Malcolm Turnbull has failed to implement any measures to even try to address the dramatic fall in the number of apprentices and apprentice completions.
After two years and $1 billion in cuts to funding for apprentices, the number of completions has dropped from 63,000 in June 2013 to just 29,700 in June 2015.
There are almost 100,000 less apprentices in training, with numbers dropping from 407,000 in June 2013 to 308,000 in June 2015.
The extension of Labor’s Accelerated Apprentices program for four more years is welcome but it is only a quarter of the size of the original program and won’t go anywhere in stopping the massive decline of apprentices completing their training.
The Liberals have also failed to mention TAFE even once despite the crisis in the vocational education and training sector.
Instead, the Liberals are banking on their recent panicked ‘crackdown’ measures to create savings but shonky providers will still be able to rip students and taxpayers off for the same amount next year as they did this year.
The cuts have to stop – we should be investing in training the workforce of the future – not cutting each and every program that helps train people to enter or re-enter the workforce.
Now Malcolm Turnbull has his job, he just doesn’t care about anyone else’s job and it seems he has no interest in the tradies of the future.
TUESDAY, 15 DECEMBER 2015