Labor's Common Sense Proposals Prevail On Apprentice Loans

Labor welcomes the Government’s belated support for our amendment to the Trade Support Loans Bill – and the Senate’s support for Labor’s condemnation of the Abbott Government for abolishing Labor’s successful Tools for Your Trade program.

Labor’s amendment ensures that parents and guardians of school based apprentices aged under 18 are informed if their child chooses to apply for a Trade Support Loan and enter into a debt arrangement with the government.  Under the Trade Support Loans program, apprentices who apply for the loan will receive approximately $650 per month directly into their bank accounts in the first year. 

“School based apprentices can be as young as 15 years old and I am pleased that the Government has finally adopted Labor’s common sense amendment to ensure that parents and guardians are fully informed if their children apply to receive this very substantial amount of money in a debt arrangement with the Government,” Shadow Minister for Vocational Education Sharon Bird said.

“Labor’s amendment will also ensure that parents and guardians have an opportunity to fully explain to their children the responsibility of entering into a debt arrangement. 

“Parents and guardians of children under 18 will also be able to discuss with the young person how they propose to spend the money and cover the costs related to their apprenticeship.”

The Senate agreed with Labor that it was disgraceful that the Trade Support Loans program has come about at the expense of the Tools for Your Trade program which the Government axed from 1 July 2014. 

“The Senate agreed with Labor that the Abbott Government had misled apprentices before the election by failing to tell them the Trade Support Loans program would come at the cost of the Tools for Your Trade program,” Ms Bird said.

“Labor’s amendment today will help to ensure that apprentices under the age of 18 only undertake these loan arrangements with the advice and support of their parents or guardians.  

“However, it is in no way relieves the Abbott Government of responsibility for its gross deceit of apprentices before the election.”