Labor welcomes the establishment of a National Training Complaints Hotline, announced today by Assistant Education Minister Simon Birmingham.
To help him, Labor offers a few urgent and important complaints that need action from the Government.
The Abbott Government’s first Budget cut $2 billion from the skills and training sector, with the axe falling on the following programs and services:
- Australian Workforce and Productivity Agency
- Tools for Your Trade Program
- Australian Apprenticeships Access Program
- Australian Apprenticeships Mentoring Program
- Accelerated Australian Apprenticeships Program
- Apprentice to Business Owner Program (A2B)
- National Workforce Development Fund
- Workplace English Language and Literacy Program
- National Partnership Agreement on Training Places for Single Parents
- Alternative Pathways Program
- Productive Ageing through Community Education
- Step Into Skills Program
- Joint Group Training
- Base funding for Industry Skills Councils
Simon Birmingham talks about further enhancing the contribution VET makes to the employment prospects of students and the competitiveness of Australia’s economy, yet his government has cut almost every program that helps to train young people and apprentices and upskill existing workers.
While the hotline is a small step in the right direction in assisting stakeholders across the VET sector, the Assistant Minister also needs to explain what funding and staffing is being provided to the hotline and whether the reports it produces on complaint trends will be publicly released.
If the Abbott wants to help Australians get the skills they need for good jobs, they need more than a hotline. They need to stop cutting funding and actually start listening to the sector.