Minister Ditches Agriculture And Regional Horticulture Apprentices

In his rush to axe the Tools for Your Trade program, Minister Macfarlane has forgotten about agricultural and regional horticultural students.  

Under Tools for Your Trade, agricultural apprentices and rural and regional horticultural apprentices were eligible for $5,500 payments to help them with the purchase of tools and equipment.

The Minister has now axed this program and replaced it with Trade Support Loans which are only available to apprentices on the National Skills List, which does not include agriculture and rural and regional horticultural students.

In Senate Estimates yesterday the Department advised that the Minister was still considering whether to allow these apprentices access to the Trades Loans Support Scheme.

Prior to the election Tony Abbott promised that the Coalition would provide better support for Australia’s apprentices – apprentices in agriculture and horticulture don’t think so

“The Coalition will provide better support for Australia’s apprentices.”

Real Solutions, 2013

Minister Macfarlane needs to give these apprentices some certainty and let them know if they are eligible for the Trade Loans Support Scheme.  They have had their $5,500 Tools for Your Trade grants ripped away.  Minister, are agricultural and rural and regional apprentices eligible for Trade Support Loans or are you going to leave them with nothing?

It’s more evidence that this Budget is particularly bad for rural and regional Australia.