Release type: Transcript

Date:

Doorstop at Deakin & Community Childcare Co-operative, Burwood - National JobTrainer CALD campaign

Ministers:

The Hon Stuart Robert MP
Minister for Employment, Workforce, Skills, Small and Family Business


E&OE-------------------------------------

GLADYS LIU:

Great to join Stuart Robert, the Minister for Employment, Workforce, Skills, Small and Family Business and Acting Minister for Education. And I’m also here with Sally Young, the Director of this lovely childcare centre. So today, we have a very, very fantastic announcement made by Minister Robert on JobTrainer and diverse communities. So after you. 

MINISTER ROBERT:

Thanks, Gladys. Look, lovely to be here. And Sally, thank you for inviting us to your centre… 

SALLY YOUNG:

Pleasure. 

MINISTER ROBERT:

… and seeing the beautiful children out and about. And Gladys, of course, wonderful to be with you in Chisolm. Gladys, as we know, is the first ethnically Chinese-born Member of the House of Representatives. And as I’ve said many times with Gladys before, Gladys is one of the first MPs who comes and serves with a disability and just demonstrates what Australians can do, and the potential of what they can reach and get to. So it's wonderful to be here and to join you. 

We've just signed the JobTrainer $2 billion program nationwide. We've just signed the agreement with Victoria to allow JobTrainer mark two to roll out. We've already seen over 271,000 Australians take up the JobTrainer opportunity. And now, JobTrainer mark two will see up to 463,000 Australians get an opportunity for free or very low fee training. And Sally, you’ll be pleased to know the number one course people are doing is Cert III in Early Childhood, which is all designed to provide skilled staff for beautiful centres like this. The number two is a Diploma in Early Childhood, again showing the predominance of the care industry. 

Pleasingly we've seen 60,000 Australians with English as a second language take up JobTrainer courses. In fact, one in four Australians doing the JobTrainer free or low fee training are Australians who speak a second language, a quarter take up. So this is a great opportunity we're now seeing to skill and train new Australians. And in Victoria, we've seen 11,000 citizens, Australians with English as a second language, take up the JobTrainer. 

Now that we've signed with Victoria, we are very much looking forward to leaning in and seeing more and more Australians with English as a second language take up the opportunity for skills and training and take up the opportunity to lean into the opportunities that we've been provided to them through the Morrison’s Government JobTrainer program. 

Sally, what does it all mean for you?

SALLY YOUNG:

Well we need staff in our workforce. Our workforce Cert 3, Diploma students are the backbone of what we do as a service. Here in my service, we are a 60 place service and we have all diplomas. That was part of our philosophy is about training our staff and moving people through from Cert 3 onto diplomas. So if there's a way that the government can support that initiative, I think that’s great, because we work in a sector that is very valuable to families, all families, diverse families. And I think it is a great initiative if we can provide that training for people from all parts of our community. So yes, it's a great move, I think. Thank you. 

MINISTER ROBERT:

Superb. Thanks, Sally. 

GLADYS LIU:

That’s wonderful. Well, this is most relevant to my electorate of Chisholm, because I have more people born overseas than locally born. So what it means is it will not only will be able to provide the service that we need. At the same time, we are providing the training opportunities for many of my constituents. So it's a great initiative. And I just want to thank Minister Robert for this great initiative. And of course, the Morrison government is here to help every Australian, including the migrant Australians.

MINISTER ROBERT:

Tremendous. Happy to take any questions. 

JOURNALIST:

I mean, you've obviously already touched on the issue a little bit, but I guess, you know why is it important to target some of those CALD communities? Like why are they really targeted, I guess, for this sector and other sectors like aged care, for example, that are part of the JobTrainer?

MINISTER ROBERT:

We're going to need another 250,000 Australian workers in the next five years in the care industry, across disability, early childhood, across aged care and indeed into veteran’s care. The JobTrainer programme, in fact, has 33,800 places exclusively provided in the aged care space, another 10,000 in the digital spaces. 

We want to ensure every Australian has an opportunity to inclusively engage in the Australian community, and we've got a wonderful, wonderful resource of Australians who are culturally and linguistically diverse. Australians who perhaps weren't born in this country but came from overseas and decided to make Australia their home. And of course, Gladys is the perfect example of exactly that. 

So the opportunity to lean now in on the JobTrainer program, which we're doing heavily to say to Australians from a different background, a different country who have chosen Australia as home, there is now substantial free or very low fee training, $2 billion worth, a partnership between the Morrison government and the states to get every Australian the opportunity to take up the training. And we really want to see it. A quarter of all places are from Australians who speak English as a second language, a quarter, which is wonderful. Wouldn't it be great if it was a third? If we just increased it.

QUESTION:

And what's the split, I suppose, funding wise, between Federal Government and the state government? 

MINISTER ROBERT:

It's a 50-50 partnership. We're working with the National Skills Commission on the skill needs that are in demand. But again, the top five are all in this care industry and the top two right here in childcare. So Sally, all of your Cert IIIs? Get them into the diploma course, get a JobTrainer provider. 

SALLY YOUNG:

We've done it.

MINISTER ROBERT:

Outstanding. 

QUESTION:

Minister, most of the new migrants, especially those from China, are those with university degrees, and now the programme offer them to study paid programmes, pre-paid, all right? Do you think we should adjust our immigration policy so that we can directly- we could go for those who have been trained in the sector, rather than adopting those who only graduate a degree but need retraining here? 

MINISTER ROBERT:

Our entire programme with immigration is all based on skilled immigration, and the skilled immigration isn't whether you're university trained or vocational education trained. It is about the skills that you bring. So we run a priority skills list and we are leaning forward heavily into getting those skilled new Australians. And it doesn't matter if it's degree or otherwise, it's whether they have the skill that's in demand. 

QUESTION:

I mean, does that make sense? If you get somebody into Australia by being an accountant or an IT person, and then they can't find a job and they need to be trained to be an aged care worker? 

MINISTER ROBERT:

On the skilled migration, what we generally find - and pre-COVID, about 160,000 a year came through - of that, 30-40 per cent were the primary skilled applicant. So it might be mum who's a chemical engineer and that dad might be a chippy and some children, so that other 60 to 70 per cent come through and do vet courses or other low skilled jobs within the community. Remember, 15 per cent of our hospitality workforce are visa holders, mostly students who can work 20 hours a week. So the skilled programme allows for both.

GLADYS LIU:

And it is most important for those who are skilled in their home country when they come to Australia, we need to train them and help them to understand the local culture, and that is most important so that they can service all kids coming to your kindergarten and childcare here, because the local knowledge and local culture is most important.

QUESTION:

So you mean the program is targeted at helping people come to Australia, come here to adapt and integrate, rather than just to retrain?

MINISTER ROBERT:

There’s migrant settlement services. So every new Australian that arrives, of course, is eligible for those migrant settlement services, including hundreds of hours of English training, to allow everyone to participate in Australian life. And that's what we want. We're the most successful multicultural nation on Earth, and we’re also now by far one of the most successful nations to have dealt with COVID. In terms of infection rates, of mortality, Australia is a shining beacon what we're doing. One of the first nations to lean into a booster program, a nation we’re almost at 90 per cent double vaccination. It's an extraordinary effort that all Australians should be proud of, and I think Australia now has a wonderful message to sell to the world to say this is a great country for skilled migrants to come to. We’ll- we've put a temporary pause on opening our borders to the 15th of December. The National Security Committee will be working through on the opening arrangements - but then we've got 162,000 student visas already issued ready to come. Fifty-six thousand business and other visas ready to come from overseas to a country that is welcoming and looking for our overseas arrivals to come back again.

QUESTION:

Gladys, can I just ask you, there's reports that some members of your party are concerned about the Government's anti-Beijing sentiment that could potentially turn away Chinese-Australians, you know, voters. Are you concerned by that at all? 

GLADYS LIU:

Well, I'm a big supporter of sports. My daughter is an elite athlete herself, and I welcome the news that all Australians athletes are going to the Beijing Games. This is so important for them. They’ve been training for years and years. And of course, we know the Australia-China relationship is not the best at the moment, but I think we just have to separate sports and politics. So yes, I will be watching the games and I hope that you will do too.

QUESTION:

So in relation to the to the Beijing Olympics and now that the stance of Australia has taken, I mean, are you concerned that there could be a backlash in your electorate, which obviously has a lot of Chinese voters off the back of this? 

GLADYS LIU:

Yes, all the people who are now calling Australia home would love to see a good relationship, international relationship from Australia to all countries, and especially for those who are coming from China, I'm sure. Like, we all want to see good relationships between the two countries, but I think this Olympic Games, the Winter Games, it is more on sports. So people will be focusing on seeing how good our athletes are and how good the games will be conducted.

QUESTION:

What about some of the language, I guess that's been used, particularly by Peter Dutton in relation to some of the rhetoric around China and Taiwan? Again, I mean, does that cause concern for you at all?

GLADYS LIU:

Well, I do have people having different views about how the relationship between Australia and other countries, but at the end of the day, we all know that Australian Government is doing the best for the country. So, we are all Australians here, and I'm sure people will understand and support that the Government is acting on their best interests.

QUESTION:

As the first, you know, ethnically Chinese member of Parliament, do you, I guess, want to see more of an effort made for preselection, for people like you with that sort of a background being made?

GLADYS LIU:

Oh, definitely. I did make a comment about Tu Le in Sydney. Unfortunately, she wasn't given a good opportunity for the electorate that she wanted to represent. I understand, in that electorate, a lot of people came from the Vietnamese background and she being the second generation from a Vietnamese family and has very good connections with the community there. So it was disappointing not to have her. I would love to sit with some other people coming from a more diverse background in Parliament.

QUESTION:

So, you- just getting back to that issue of voter backlash in your electorate in the seat of Chisholm, so you don't believe that some of the language being used by the Government for the decision there to boycott the Olympics, you don't believe that that is going to have an impact on votes for you in the upcoming election?

GLADYS LIU:

So for me, every day I'm working hard for all of my constituents in the electorate of Chisholm, and I do hear and represent different views and different voices in my electorate. So happy to listen to and pass on their comments to the leadership team and the Prime Minister, and that's what- exactly what I'm doing every day.

QUESTION:

And what are you hearing? What are you hearing?

GLADYS LIU:

Well, I'm hearing a mix of different voices. So, we do have people saying, you are not doing enough or you're doing too much. It's always the case. So, as a responsible member of Parliament, that's what I do. I listen and I pass on to the leadership team, and we will look at all the comments and issues. And I can assure you, the Australian Government is acting on the best interest for all Australians.

QUESTION:

Minister, last Tuesday, the Scanlon Foundation released the 2021 Social Cohesion Mapping Report – I think you must have read it, all right – the report indicates that most of the Australians, however supportive to the intake of migrants and believe that they contribute to the economy of the Australian, and over 80 per cent of them, all right, agree with it, and also 86 per cent agree with the policy of extending the multicultural policy of skilled migrants. So how will the program, all right, based on this to integrate or to ask the community to be part of the support, like for example, they have committed on the decision from the co-committees which may be interested to be part of the JobTrainer program. So would you consider work with, say, co-organisations to be making the JobTrainer more effective?

MINISTER ROBERT:

Absolutely, so JobTrainer is a partnership of the state and territories at a 50-50 level, but the states and territories determine the registered training organisations that provided the funds to train. Most states and territories provide it through both public and private registered training organisations, public being ostensibly TAFE, and private being a whole range of organisations like yourselves and other that are producing some outstanding training. And we'd love to see the JobTrainer programs extended right across both public and the private, using the full extent of the 4000 RTOs, registered training organisations, we've got, including those that represent culturally and linguistically diverse Australians. That will be superb. Because you're right. The Social Cohesion survey shows that we are successful as a multicultural nation, that we do treat all people as made in the image of God and as equal and as full citizens in our community. Citizenship is citizenship. That’s the great thing about it.

QUESTION:

How about the local organisations, which are under the state governments – the Further Education board? They are not RTOs, they are not TAFE, but they are company organisations which provide training to adults.

MINISTER ROBERT:

We have a responsibility in using taxpayers’ money. So the beauty of using registered training organisations is that they're accredited under ASQA, which is the national accreditation body. Therefore, the Australian people can have confidence that the training that's being provided is being provided to an acceptable accredited standing; the same way that we accredit childcare centres to ensure that Australian mums and dads have confidence when they send their beautiful little kids – and there's 60 of them surrounding us here – that when they come to Sally's place, it is a world class establishment. So as long as the providers in the CALD space are registered training organisations, there is no reason why the states and territories can't be using them.