Release type: Transcript


2GB Breakfast interview with Ben Fordham


Senator the Hon Michaelia Cash
Minister for Employment, Skills, Small and Family Business


Subject/s:  $2 billion JobTrainer skills announcement, ABS Labour Force predictions

BEN FORDHAM: Well we've had JobKeeper, JobSeeker, JobMaker and now, we've got JobTrainer. JobTrainer is being announced today. It will subsidise short courses to help people reskill and find a job in the post COVID workplace. It'll also provide more income support to apprentices. Michaelia Cash is the Minister for Skills and Employment. She's on the line. Minister, good morning.

MINISTER CASH: Good morning, Ben. Good morning to your listeners.

BEN FORDHAM: JobTrainer is already a hit with my listeners, I can tell you.

MINISTER CASH: Oh look, I have been inundated this morning with support, in particular, the $1.5 billion to expand the apprentice and trainee wage subsidy, 340,000 Australians are also going to be given the opportunity to retrain or upskill into sectors with job opportunities via the $2 billion package. Ben, that's a good thing given the current environment.

BEN FORDHAM: So, this isn't uni or TAFE, these are short courses?

MINISTER CASH: Short courses and full qualifications. That will be up to the states and territories as to how they would like to deliver them. But certainly, it's vocational education and training, short courses, full qualifications. It's all about upskilling, reskilling, retraining into areas that we know are in demand and have a job.

BEN FORDHAM: So, what are those in demand areas in the opinion of the Morrison Government?

MINISTER CASH: Well the National Skills Commission are going to work directly with the states and territories to ensure that we are targeting the areas of demand in their particular state or territory. But I don't think it will come as any surprise to people to know, you know; mining and resources, construction, ICT, health aged and disability care. They're the obvious ones where we know there is that growth.

BEN FORDHAM: Okay. If you're already an apprentice and you're out of work, there's going to be some extra help?

MINISTER CASH: That's exactly right and if someone picks you up, that's the good news, they will qualify for the wage incentive. It's going to cover around 180,000 apprentices, around 90,000 small and medium businesses. Ben, to all those businesses out there, 200 employees or less, you now qualify. We're extending it to those with 21 or more, and less than 200. We're also extending the wage subsidy by a further six months to March 2021.

So, for all of those small businesses out there who have already qualified, you will now get an extra six months of support. We want to see apprentices and trainees kept on the job and that's what this $1.5 billion will do.

BEN FORDHAM: How bad are the jobs numbers going to be when they're out today?

MINISTER CASH: Look, Ben, as you know, it just doesn't matter what they are. Every job lost as a result of COVID-19 is devastating and that's why the $2 billion that we're investing today, getting hundreds of thousands of Australians that opportunity to get new skills, retrain, you know, that's a good thing. But also, the $1.5 billion to expand the apprentice and trainee wage incentive. We're all about doing what we can as a government to keep businesses in business, to get businesses that have had to close their doors reopened and to get Australians back into work where we need them to be.

BEN FORDHAM: We're speaking to the Minister for Skills and Employment Michaelia Cash. What a lot of people don't know about Michaelia Cash is that she's the queen of karaoke and she broke a promise to come and sing karaoke with us in the studio many years ago.


BEN FORDHAM: But look, Minister just do me a favour because a colleague of mine James Willis, when we revealed this yesterday, this is him at karaoke doing Rocket Man. Have a listen.



JAMES WILLIS: [Sings Rocket Man]

[End of excerpt]

BEN FORDHAM: Now, be honest with me, Minister, out of 10 because you are the queen of karaoke. You know what you’re talking about.

MINISTER CASH: What can I say? Ben, the wonderful thing about karaoke, and I think so many of your listeners will agree, it breaks down so many barriers, so many barriers, and it gives that confidence-

BEN FORDHAM: [Interrupts] You’re dodging the question, Minister. How bad is he?

MINISTER CASH: [Laughs] It was a great effort. A great effort and I would encourage him to do more.

BEN FORDHAM: We’ll talk to you again soon.

MINISTER CASH: Have a great day, Ben.

BEN FORDHAM: Thanks so much. There you go. Michaelia Cash, the Minister for Jobs.