Subject/s: $2 billion JobTrainer skills announcement, JobKeeper
DAVID KOCH: The Government will today unveil a multibillion dollar skills package to retrain Aussies who lost their jobs during the pandemic, called JobTrainer. It includes $1 billion to reskill workers through short course training programs, with an extra 340,000 training places for job seekers and school leavers. There’s also $1.5 billion to expand the apprentice wage subsidy and make it available to medium sized businesses. Joining me now, Employment Minister Michaelia Cash. Minister, good morning to you.
MINISTER CASH: Good morning.
DAVID KOCH: A welcomed announcement, but with the real unemployment figure around 13.3 per cent when taking those on JobKeeper into account, will this new package go far enough?
MINISTER CASH: Well, certainly it is a step in the right direction, and it has been warmly welcomed by stakeholders this morning. The additional $1.5 billion to support apprentices and trainees, to date we’ve saved around 85,000 apprentice and trainee jobs - that is a good thing. We do recognise that they need ongoing support, and that is why today we’re expanding that program, it will now cover around 180,000 apprentice and trainees throughout Australia. The goal of this Government is to keep people in work and to keep apprentices and trainees on the job, which is where we need them.
DAVID KOCH: Half the money for this program is coming from the states – are they all on board?
MINISTER CASH: That’s correct. So, the Government, in relation to the JobTrainer package, is putting up half a billion dollars; that will be matched by the states to create an additional 340,000 training places across Australia. I’ve had incredibly positive discussions with my skills counterparts, and I know that the Prime Minister has had very positive discussions with the chief ministers.
DAVID KOCH: Okay. It’s also important to keep employers going, to hire these apprentices and retrain them. Are you feeling the heat and the pressure from the business community to extend JobKeeper beyond September?
MINISTER CASH: Well certainly, the Government has always said that the original JobKeeper package was a temporary package, as you know, put in place for six months. It has maintained that important connection for employees with their employer for around 3.5 million Australians. But as you know, the Prime Minister has been very clear; we understand that come September, when JobKeeper itself formally ends, there will be businesses that require an additional level of support. And those announcements will be made by the Treasurer on 23 July, when he provides his economic update.
DAVID KOCH: Okay. That’s encouraging. Minister, thanks for joining us.
MINISTER CASH: Great as always to be with you.