Prime Minister Scott Morrison has unveiled a new government scheme coined JobMaker, that aims to help the Australian economy reset for growth.
The plan consists of several elements, although the focus for now is “skills” and “industrial relations”.
Other components such as more efficient taxes, less regulation, award simplification and access to finance will be announced in the weeks and months ahead.
Addressing the National Press Club on Tuesday 25 May, Mr Morrison said, “Opening up will be harder than closing down.
“We will all have to have to retrain, to live and work in a way that creates a sustainable COVIDSafe economy and society,” Mr Morrison said.
Overhauling the skills system will be a government priority to stimulate job creation in a changing labour market. The Prime Minister stressed that in relation to job skills, “we need Australians better trained for the jobs [that] businesses are looking to create.”
The National Skills Commission has been established with this objective in mind, and will now provide detailed labour market analysis, including an annual report each year setting out the skill needs of Australia, replacing existing lists for apprenticeships and skilled migration.
The current National Agreement for Skills and Workforce Development between the states and the Commonwealth is under review. The PM said, “By law, the Commonwealth must hand over to the states and territories $1.5 billion every year in untied funding every year – with no end date and no questions asked.
“The Commonwealth has no line of sight on how states use this funding.”
Under his plan, Mr Morrison announced funding would be increasingly linked to the skill gaps, with industry given more power to influence training. The funding system will be simplified, with more consistency provided between states, TAFES and universities.
Industrial relations reform
Speaking to the need for industrial relations reform, the PM announced that beginning immediately, the Minister for Industrial Relations and the Attorney-General Christian Porter will lead a “new, time-bound, dedicated process bringing employers, industry groups, employee representatives and government to the table to chart a practical reform” of Australia’s industrial relations system.
The Minister will chair five working groups for discussion to produce a JobMaker package in the following areas:
- Award simplification
- Enterprise agreement making
- Casuals and fixed-term employees
- Compliance and enforcement
- Greenfields agreements for new enterprises
Membership of each working group will include employer, union representatives and individuals such as small businesses, rural communities, women and families. The working groups are expected to run until September 2020.
The PM added, “The purpose is simple and honest, to explore, and hopefully find, a pathway to sensible, long-lasting reform with just one goal – make jobs.”
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