Local Media


December 06, 2021

Labor will give locals across Ipswich, the Somerset Region and Karana Downs area access to free TAFE, to tackle the skills crisis that’s holding back Australia’s COVID-19 comeback.

Federal Member for Blair, Shayne Neumann said under an Albanese Labor Government, locals in Blair who want to study in an industry with a recognised skills shortage will be supported through free TAFE.

“For nearly a decade, the Liberal-National Government has slashed TAFE and apprentice numbers,” Mr Neumann said.

“Today we have 85,000 fewer apprentices and trainees nationally than when this Government came to power: that’s a reduction of more than 20 per cent.

“Across Ipswich, the Somerset Region and the Karana Downs area, there has been a 24 per cent reduction, or 547 fewer apprentices and trainees.

“That means we don’t have the skilled workers we need.”

Mr Neumann said under the Morrison-Joyce Government, Australia is suffering from a major shortage of workers in the care economy and those sectors hit hard by the pandemic, like hospitality. 

“We must also do more to take advantage of the jobs of the future, including digital, new energy and advanced manufacturing.

“Labor’s free TAFE will provide opportunities for a solid career path for people of all ages, while also bolstering the future locally by delivering a pipeline of skilled workers to meet future demand.

“TAFE graduates are valuable workers, adding billions to the economy each year, including $85 billion in 2019 alone.

“At a time when productivity and wages are flatlining, our TAFEs have the potential to grow the economy and sustain the secure well-paid jobs of the future.”

Mr Neumann said Labor will provide $50 million for a TAFE Technology Fund to create world-leading TAFE training centres and simulators.

“Labor will work closely with state and territory governments and industry groups on opportunities which allow workers to transfer and build on their accredited micro-credential training.

“While many states and territories have invested in the skills and training sector, the Morrison Government has no plan to give our kids the skills they need for future jobs.

“Only Labor has a long-term plan to secure the jobs of the future by giving people in Ipswich, the Somerset Region and Karana Downs area the skills they need.