Release type: Transcript


Doorstop — New Norfolk


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


Look, it's fantastic to be here in New Norfolk today, right where – in the heart of construction site right here, where we see a lot of things happening and a lot of jobs being created right here in New Norfolk. So I'm very happy to have Senator Claire Chandler here with me as well, and I'll introduce Minister Robert, who has a very exciting announcement to make around skills and the local construction industry.


Yeah, thanks, Susie. It's great to be here, not just with Senator Chandler, but of course with Susie Bower, our candidate for Lyons. Can I thank Rob and the team here at Crusader Homes for allowing me to come on site and look at the great work they're doing? I thank the apprentices.

Good job, lads, in the back there, who are having a welcome morning tea break and it's great to see the wonderful work that they're doing here.

Tasmania is a powerhouse because of what the Liberal Government is doing. Unemployment here at 3.8 per cent; 11,500 apprentices and trainees are training right now, 20 per cent higher, than when Labor held office.

And it's great to be able to announce today, there are 1,636 trainees and trade apprentices here, right here in the seat of Lyons. Over 70 per cent higher than when Labor lost office. It is an extraordinary growth in trade apprentices and it's been great to see four of them here working with Crusader Homes from first year right away to fourth year, from chippies through to tilers.

It's also great to be able to announce today the Morrison Government and the Tasmanian Government have finalised and agreed on the new kindergarten agreement, which is $40 million over four years. It'll see 25,000 Tasmanian children over the next four-year period do up to 15 hours per week in kindergarten – that crucial year prior to school.

And it's also great to be able to announce today the Federal Government, Morrison Government, and the Tasmanian Government have also signed the agreement on JobTrainer. JobTrainer, of course, is a $2 billion program that will see 463,000 low-fee or zero-free training places across the country. It’s a program that we have doubled down on, and today, $21 million between the Federal Government and the Tasmanian Government to see a further 7,000 Tasmanians either in no fee or very low fee training. Already, we've got 3,500 Tasmanians under the JobTrainer program.

So a great day here in northern Lyons not just to announce those 1,636 trainees and trade apprentices –  highest on record by a country mile – but also to announce the conclusion of the kindergarten agreement and of course, the JobTrainer Agreement, all of which will see training of young Tasmanians and the training of older Tasmanians to get into the skills and into the occupations and into the jobs that we desperately need down here in Tasmania.

Susie, it's a great set of announcements in terms of trade and training. What does it mean here for economic development?


Yeah. So of course, Lyons is leading the way with apprenticeships in this area, in our electorate, and especially being here today at a construction site where you can actually have a look around and see how much construction is actually happening in the Lyons electorate in New Norfolk today, but also right around the electorate. And it's really critical that we have these careers for our young people, that they have a career to go into and an opportunity to have that career right here in their hometown, It is really pleasing to see. It is also great to see there are options for those who want to upskill and look at a change of career. This is a fantastic announcement for the future of Tassie and for the future of our Lyons electorate.


Yeah, well said.


So in terms of the JobTrainer program, that doesn't seem like a particularly long-term scheme. Governments can opt into extending that, but what's the Federal Government doing for a long-term incentive to get people into work?


Well, the Federal Government's got $7.8 billion in skills this year alone. JobTrainer, of course, was an emergency provision we put in place during COVID, $2 billion, to really encourage young Australians into work. Having said that, the Commonwealth Government provides $2 billion per annum through the National Agreement on Skills and Workforce Development and the Skilling Australia Fund through to the states and territories as part of what is a $10 billion annual skilling agenda. And that's why you've got unemployment down here at 3.8 per cent. The economic activity is being driven by a skilling of a whole new generation.

And just chatting with the apprentices, there's a young bloke straight out of school; then there's an older bloke who is into doing his tiling apprenticeship. There is brothers and fathers working here, generations of Tasmanians, all driven in many ways by the investment the Federal Government is putting through.


Nationally though, the unemployment rate remains around 4.2 percent, and we are seeing the labour market is in a recession or sort of declined given COVID partly. So is the Federal Government doing anything else to try and alleviate that, you know, the unemployment rate and try and improve that and get more young people particularly into work?


Well, the unemployment rate's 4.2 per cent. It is heading in the coming months to have a 3 in front of it. It'll be the lowest unemployment rate in 50 years. In 50 years. There is no one on this worksite right now apart from, where is Rob?, there’s not many who would understand what an unemployment rate with a 3 in front of it. And that is because of the work that the Morrison Government is doing. A 50-year low unemployment rate.

The unemployment rate is at 3.8 per cent here in Tasmania – that is full employment right here in Tasmania. If you're looking for a job, you can get one. And of course, the record $7.8 billion the Morrison Government is putting into skilling with JobTrainer as part of that means if you want to get training, if you want to get into a course of study at either zero cost of very low cost, now's the perfect time to do it.


And again on trying to get young people into work, is the Federal Government looking at boosting subsidies for employers to try and encourage them or entice them to hire people, particularly under 25 years of age?


Well, right now, of course, with the boosting apprenticeship commencements, the Federal Government is providing a wage subsidy of 50 per cent to employers to encourage apprentices to come on site. And that wage subsidy will continue through to the end of this month, and then, of course, the Treasurer will have more to say in terms of any  Budget announcement.

But there has never been a better time to get into a trade right now with the wage apprenticeships or wage subsidies at 50 per cent.

The Government's Transition to Work program is working with young Australians from 15 to 22 to provide intensive support and services. And again, it’s one of the reasons why youth unemployment is now below 10 per cent, the lowest in 13 years.

Thank you.