Release type: Media Release


Meeting of the Skills Ministers - VET sector reform in response to the COVID-19 pandemic


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

Commonwealth, State and Territory Skills Ministers met today to advance priorities to support Australia’s critical skills and training needs in response to COVID-19 and continue progressing reforms that will deliver a strong vocational education and training (VET) system for students, employers and industry.

Ministers confirmed the central role that an accessible, relevant and high-quality training system will have in Australia’s economic recovery.

Strengthening Australia’s skills and training system is a priority for recovery and now more than ever we need a responsive and adaptable system that is able to pivot to meet the needs of learners and the economy.

Through signing of the Heads of Agreement for Skills Reform, seven jurisdictions have committed to immediate reforms to improve VET quality and relevance along with a set of high-level reform priorities which will be worked through in detail as part of the negotiation of a new national skills funding agreement.

The Heads of Agreement, in combination with the JobTrainer Fund, forms a vital part of the economic recovery. Skills Ministers noted that bilateral discussions on the JobTrainer Fund have commenced.

Minister for Employment, Skills, Small and Family Business, Senator the Hon Michaelia Cash said the JobTrainer Fund is expected to provide for around an additional 340,700 training places for school leavers, and help upskill and retrain jobseekers.

“JobTrainer is a significant joint investment by the Commonwealth and states and territories in skills and in supporting people into jobs,” Minister Cash said.

“It will not only be central to providing Australians with new opportunities, but it will be central to our economic recovery.”

The Skills Council also discussed new architecture for Commonwealth-State relations under National Cabinet and the National Federation Reform Council.

The National Cabinet Review of COAG Councils and Ministerial Forums is currently underway, with recommendations on the best model for Commonwealth-State relations expected in September 2020.

While the review is underway, Skills Ministers continue to meet to progress critical priorities and to fulfil regulatory and legislative requirements.

The 31 July 2020 Meeting Communique can be accessed at