Coronavirus and higher education: Statement from Minister for Education Dan Tehan

The National Security Committee of Cabinet (NSC) met this afternoon to discuss the evolving novel coronavirus crisis.

Release type: Media Release

Date: 1 February 2020

Ministers:

  • The Hon Dan Tehan MP

Strengthening the digital technologies and human services care workforce

Work to grow Australia’s skilled workforce is underway with the commencement of Skills Organisation Pilots to support the digital technology and human services care industries.

Release type: Joint Media Release

Date: 31 January 2020

Ministers:

  • Senator the Hon Michaelia Cash
  • The Hon Steve Irons MP

International student mental health in the spotlight

International students will receive better mental health support. The Morrison Government is providing $200,000 to research:

Release type: Media Release

Date: 31 January 2020

Ministers:

  • The Hon Dan Tehan MP

Change in business behaviour confirms Government legislation

The Morrison Government welcomes the decision taken by businesses in recent days to change their payment terms with their suppliers.

Release type: Media Release

Date: 31 January 2020

Ministers:

  • Senator the Hon Michaelia Cash

Graduates delivering for employers

University graduates are making a good first impression with 84 per cent of employers highly rating the graduates they employ.

Release type: Media Release

Date: 31 January 2020

Ministers:

  • The Hon Dan Tehan MP

Child care costs and government subsidy

Australian families continue to pay less out-of-pocket costs on average under the Government’s Child Care Package, according to the latest CPI data released today.

Release type: Media Release

Date: 29 January 2020

Ministers:

  • The Hon Dan Tehan MP

Updated community advice on Novel Coronavirus

The Australian Government is updating its advice to the Australian Community regarding the Novel Coronavirus, which is based on the latest medical advice.

Release type: Joint Media Release

Date: 29 January 2020

Ministers:

  • The Hon Greg Hunt MP
  • The Hon Dan Tehan MP

More support for communities affected by drought

Funding for farmers, small businesses, families and schools in drought-affected communities across Australia will now start rolling out as part of a $57 million support package.

Release type: Joint Media Release

Date: 28 January 2020

Ministers:

  • The Hon Scott Morrison MP
  • The Hon Dan Tehan MP

Research funding for Australian society, history and culture

The Morrison Government is funding a new research program to recognise the importance of research into Australian society, history and culture.

Release type: Media Release

Date: 27 January 2020

Ministers:

  • The Hon Dan Tehan MP

Online resources to help young people navigate career pathways

Schools, parents, employers and educators can now access resources to better support secondary students making decisions about their future careers, following the launch of the schooltowork…

Release type: Joint Media Release

Date: 24 January 2020

Ministers:

  • Senator the Hon Michaelia Cash
  • The Hon Steve Irons MP

Funding innovative research that creates jobs

The Morrison Government is investing in greater collaboration between universities and businesses on research innovation and workforce preparation.

Release type: Media Release

Date: 24 January 2020

Ministers:

  • The Hon Dan Tehan MP

Labour Force December 2019: More Australians in work than ever before

Labour force figures released today by the ABS exceeded all market expectations in December 2019, with seasonally adjusted employment rising by 28,900 over the month, to stand at a record high of…

Release type: Media Release

Date: 23 January 2020

Ministers:

  • Senator the Hon Michaelia Cash

Sky News Interview with Kieran Gilbert

Topics: Australia’s workforce, skilled migration, India travel ban 

E&OE
 

KIERAN GILBERT:

Minister, thanks for your time. You've been looking at the labour shortages in Northern Australia but this is a story which is relevant to childcare, aged care, disability care, all these areas where the government is spending more as well, that we don't have the immigration levels that we normally have. How are you going to plug the gaps that that are needed here?

MINISTER ROBERT:

It's the million-dollar question, Kieran. When monetary policy, fiscal policy and immigration policy have reached their limits, we now need the Australian people to step up and get into work.

Up here in Darwin, unemployment of 5.6%, but the participation rate here, Kieran, is a staggering 72.7% compared to the national average of 66.3%, to give you an idea, there are so many younger Australians working but they need so many more. So, this will be a big focus this year on skilling, employment, apprenticeships, how we enshrine mutual obligations into that at the same time.

KIERAN GILBERT:

And to encourage people to go into those care sectors, that's a challenge, particularly when they've got such notoriously low pay, how do you encourage those wages to rise because if you do you'll get more people in there?

MINISTER ROBERT:

Well, we need more workers in childcare, we'll need over 30,000 more in aged care, the NDIS over the next five or six years will need 40,000 in attendant care. Now, luckily attendant care as a Cert-Three is the most heavily subscribed and trained qualification, which is a good thing, but all of this will form part of a dedicated workforce strategy that we'll need to do to tie all of these loose ends together.

In the next 12 months we need to do it without immigration, and if you think about this, Kieran, over the last five years 50% of all jobs growth in Australia has been through migrants coming through. We have to confront this challenge, as a nation without that, that immigration lever, at least for the next 12 months.

KIERAN GILBERT:


And so yeah, so on that timeframe you would think, 12 months at least. And then, would you look at specific categories to try and get people in and expedite the return of workers where relevant where sectors need them so desperately?

MINISTER ROBERT:

The Prime Minister has made the point that will at least be to the end of the year, in terms of our, our borders remaining mostly shut though, he wants Australians who are vaccinated to be able to come in and out. But even if we were to turn the immigration tap on at the end of the year, it would be a number of months before you start seeing that flow through.

So, in terms of a tangible present we're at least 12 months away from tangibly seeing the result of immigration. Now immigration will form a great part of our recovery, especially in skilled and distinguished talent immigration. Australia has done so well during the pandemic. This is one of the great countries on Earth that people want to come to. And we should use that, encourage them to get the best and brightest to come into Australia, but we also want to make sure that every Australian has an opportunity for a job, and every Australian has an opportunity to get a skill or a qualification to get into that job, and that task of getting Australians into jobs is my first priority.

KIERAN GILBERT:

Particularly where you've got this challenge of youth unemployment, often in regional areas we've seen in various centres, youth unemployment far too high. And then you've got these gaps in sectors as we've discussed surely it's a great opportunity as well, if it can be if it can be capitalized if that pipeline can be tapped?

MINISTER ROBERT:

Oh, a massive opportunity. 122,000 Australians on what we call Youth Allowance Other, which means they're aged 16 to 22, and they don't have a job, and they're not in training so they're not in education, 122,000 Australians.

So, I've asked my department for options on how do we communicate with each one of them where they are to identify subsidised places for training or skilling or jobs. We saw the ANZ job survey out today 198,000 position positions advertised, month on month. So an increase over 4%. So that work is there, the subsidised skilling is there, we just need to now connect, especially young Australians, to those job opportunities, and those skilling opportunities.

KIERAN GILBERT:

On  another matter we’ve spoken to a number of representatives of the Indian Australian community, some stranded in India, some here, worried about friends and relatives, what do you say that to the suggestion that your, your government, the government of which you're a cabinet member has abandoned some of its citizens in India?

MINISTER ROBERT:

I've spoken to my Indian community as well, Kieran, and I'll say the same thing to you as I said to them. When the pandemic started Australia was the first country to stop flights from China, and we've done the same thing with Papua New Guinea, because extraordinary circumstances have required it now here we are with India for a temporary pause for another week or so.

Howard Springs, which is a facility up here run by the government, almost 100% of those in that facility with COVID are from India, 57% of those in quarantine across the country have come from India, with COVID. So it's a significant challenge. And on the health advice, the Government has acted temporarily in a measured way. Now keeping in mind the last 12 months, Kieran, we've had 38 facilitated flights by the Commonwealth, from India to Australia. So we haven't abandoned anyone in this country, but decisions have to be made on medical advice and that decision temporarily has been made.

KIERAN GILBERT:

But if you're, you've got an Australian passport shouldn’t you have the right to return home, shouldn't the government, government be going over and above to get these people home, if you go back to early last year spoke about the flights in China but still there were chartered flights out of Wuhan to get those Australians of Chinese heritage into Christmas Island, why not do something similar?

MINISTER ROBERT:

We've done 38 charter flights now out of India, over the last 12 months, and the Government will continue to do charter flights where we need them. But right now there's a temporary pause for the next week or so. As India seeks to get its situation under control Australia is flooding aid assistance, medical support into India, as well as assessing where we are right now in terms of our population and our quarantine measures.

So, the Prime Minister will have more to say, as we approach that temporary pause date as to the next steps that the Australian Government will make.

KIERAN GILBERT:

So, there's no racism underpinning this decision as some have suggested?

MINISTER ROBERT:

You're seeing infection rates well over a third of a million a day, Kieran, across India, places where oxygen is running out, and where 57% of all COVID positive in quarantine right now in Australia are people that have come back from India. And that number is almost 100% in Howard springs. I think those numbers speak for themselves, whereas earlier in the pandemic those numbers were more like 10%.

So this is a response to extraordinary circumstances, that's affecting our good friends in India, it's temporary, and it's targeted and the Government will have more to say in terms of next steps as we approach that point mid-May where we said the temporary measure would be reviewed.

KIERAN GILBERT:

Stuart Robert, thanks for joining us.

[ENDS]