Abbott Govt's “Sticking To Our Plan” Sticks It To Apprentices


The Liberal Party’s glossy booklet Sticking to Our Plan – Backing Hard-working Australians confirms that the Abbott Government has done nothing but cut support to apprentices. 

The Abbott Government cannot run and hide from the fact that there has been $1 billion in cuts to apprentices since their election in September 2013 and this had contributed to a dramatic drop of apprentices – from 417,700 in September 2013 to 319,700 in March this year according to the National Centre for Vocational Education and Research (NCVER) report released on Friday Australian vocational education and training statistics: Apprentices and trainees 2015 March Quarter report.


The Coalition’s 27 page glossy document contains just three paragraphs about apprentices.


Claim:            The first paragraph claims that the Abbott Government is investing up to $200 million a year to train and retain more than 300,000 apprentices.


Fact:               The 2014 MYEFO documents clearly detail over $10 million per year in cuts to the now rebadged Australian Apprenticeship Centres.


Claim:            The rebadged Australian Apprenticeship Support Network is the “biggest reform to apprenticeship support in more than two decades”. 


Fact:               Wrong.  It is required to do more with significantly less money – a cut of $10 million per year and additional tasks such as job matching, mentoring and support. 


Claim:            The second paragraph also states that these cuts will help lift completion rates. 


Fact:               In March 2015 just 31,500 completed an apprenticeship, compared to 47,000 apprentices in March 2013.  


Claim:            The third and last mention of apprentices says that Trade Support Loans are helping apprentices.


Fact:               The Minister should not be claiming these reforms as a success. The low take-up rate for the new Trade Support Loans is proof of the Abbott Government’s failure in this area. Latest figures show that only approximately 24,000 apprentices have taken out one these loans whereas in 2012-13, 236,600 payments were made to 192,666 Australian Apprentices under the now-scrapped Tools For Your Trade program.

The Abbott Government needs to implement policies that actually help apprentices – not cut every bit of funding available to help train a skilled workforce for the future.