THE HON BRENDAN O'CONNOR MP, MINISTER FOR SKILLS AND TRAINING
THE HON SHAYNE NEUMANN MP, FEDERAL MEMBER FOR BLAIR
JOINT MEDIA RELEASE
Local school leavers and jobseekers will be able to access free TAFE courses after the Federal and State Governments signed a National Skills Agreement to unlock billions in skills and training funding for the next five years and tackle workforce shortages.
The landmark deal agreed to by National Cabinet will take effect from January next year and is part of the Albanese Labor Government’s ambitious agenda to support productivity, labour market participation, and address skills gaps with a focus on areas of national priority, including health care, child care, service industries and infrastructure.
Under the long-term funding agreement, the Albanese Government will invest $12.6 billion across the country to expand and transform access to the vocational education and training (VET) sector, support quality training and implement reforms to address critical skills needs.
In a historic first, this includes $2.54 billion for Queensland, with the Palaszczuk Government to contribute almost $4 billion, which would help deliver high-quality training to local students.
Governments will be required to focus on gender equality and women’s economic participation, closing the gap for First Nations people, and ensuring more opportunities for young people, mature age Australians, people from culturally and linguistically diverse communities, people with disability, and regional and remote learners.
This new investment is on top of funding already committed for 300,000 fee-free TAFE places from 2024, with more than 45,000 Queenslanders taking up fee-free TAFE this year alone.
Minister for Skills and Training Brendan O’Connor said the agreement would kickstart real change.
“The TAFE sector has endured periods of underfunding, impacts of deregulation, loose rules of VET market entry, a lack of national cohesion and an obsession for competition at the expense of collaboration,” Minister O’Connor said.
“By providing genuine national leadership in partnership with states and territories, we are building a high performing and world class VET sector, which is crucial for achieving a fairer society and a stronger economy.
“This agreement with the Palaszczuk Government underlines the Albanese Government’s commitment to skilling Australians for secure, well-paid jobs and ensures no one is held back, and no one is left behind”.
Federal Member for Blair Shayne Neumann said that the National Skills Agreement was a game-changer, and would be good for local school leavers and jobseekers looking to train or retrain, and good for local businesses in his electorate that need more skilled workers.
“Alongside our very successful fee-free TAFE places, this will make it cheaper and easier for students to get good qualifications at a great local campus like Ipswich TAFE or Springfield TAFE and go on to get good secure jobs.
“This will mean more boilermakers, more chefs, more aged care workers, more child care workers, and more people with the skills that they need, but also the skills that our local economy needs.”
“I know one of the biggest challenges for employers in Ipswich, the Somerset Region and Karana Downs area is finding workers with the right skills, so our National Skills Agreement and fee-free TAFE will go a long way to plugging these skill gaps,” Mr Neumann said.