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Skilling Australia to grow industry

13 May 2014

The Abbott Government will deliver a new $476 million Industry Skills Fund that will streamline training and better position Australian industry to succeed in a rapidly changing global economy. It will complement the Government’s investment in the Trade Support Loans scheme.

The Budget is part of the Government’s Economic Action Strategy to build a strong, prosperous economy and a safe, secure Australia.

The Government is making decisions that repair the Budget, strengthen the economy and prepare Australia for the long-term challenges before us.

The Government is delivering on its commitment to introduce Trade Support Loans for apprentices to encourage more young people to take up a trade and complete their qualification.

From 1 July 2014 the Government will offer loans of up to $20,000 over the life of an apprenticeship.

These loans will ease the financial burden and help increase apprenticeship completion rates.

Like HELP loans for tertiary students, the loans will be repayable once apprentices are earning a sustainable income.

All too often, young apprentices do not complete their training because they cannot afford the costs associated with undertaking an apprenticeship.

The Trade Support Loans will specifically target occupations on the National Skills Needs List such as plumbers, diesel mechanics, electricians and fitters.

The loans will be spread over the four years of an apprenticeship, diminishing as wages increase so that maximum support is provided in the initial years when most needed.

It will provide real support for current apprentices to complete their skills training and provide a stronger incentive for young Australians to become apprentices.

The new Industry Skills Fund will commence on 1 January 2015 and will deliver close to 200,000 targeted training places and training support services over four years.

The fund will assist small and medium sized businesses to successfully diversify and improve competiveness in a global market.

Registered Training Organisations will deliver to businesses high-quality accredited and targeted training.

This fund will help make Australian industry more flexible so it can seize emerging opportunities like new markets in Asia from Free Trade Agreements.

The fund will be delivered through the new streamlined Single Business Service initiative to make it easier for businesses to deal with Government

In the 2014-15 Budget the Government is making the right decisions to repair the budget mess that Labor left behind.

In this Budget, the Government is announcing major changes to industry assistance that will enable the Department of Industry to offer streamlined and better aligned delivery of both training and support to Australian businesses.

The investment in the Industry Skills Fund will be offset by savings from the cessation of 10 existing training programmes. Transition arrangements will be put in place for the phase-out of the 10 programmes.

Even though we inherited a mess, we are taking responsibility to clean it up – by taking strong and fair action in the Budget.

Media contact: Mr Macfarlane’s office (02) 6277 7070