On Tuesday 26th May, Scott Morrison revealed a ‘JobMaker’ plan to strengthen and grow the economy post-lockdown by focussing on equipping Australians with in-demand skills, assisting key industries such as manufacturing, working on a new tax system and more.
He said that the emergency stimulus measures had kept the economy going but that it was now time to get the economy “out of the ICU.” The short-term stimulus boost is now being taken over by this new JobMaking agenda.
The JobMaker plan, aimed at rebooting the economy from a pandemic-induced slump, will be revealed in its entirety by the October federal budget.
While the Commonwealth provides states with $1.5 billion in VET funding every year, Mr Morrison says a lack of oversight causes course prices and quality to vary dramatically across borders.
Total spending on vocational education and training has fallen to its lowest level in more than a decade, with $7.7 billion spent in 2017 according to the National Centre for Vocational Education and Research.
The federal push is based in part on figures that show a huge variation between the states, with one example being a Certificate III in blinds and security screens that received a subsidy of $3,726 in Queensland and $9,630 in NSW but no subsidy in Victoria outside an apprenticeship.
Over the next three to five years, Mr Morrison said the federal government will work with state and territory leaders to make sweeping changes but has not increased funding in the short term.
Tax and industrial relations reforms are also on the ‘Job Maker’ agenda, further details of which Mr Morrison said will be revealed in the weeks and months ahead.
Minister for Industrial Relations, the Attorney-General, Christian Porter will lead the Industrial Relations reform section of the JobMaker.
On the table is everything from simplifying modern awards, to enterprise agreements and wage theft, as the Morrison government pledges to turn the page on a bitter divide between business and unions that’s stalled reforms to the Fair Work Act for more than a decade.
Issues are likely to include the Fair Work Commission’s ‘better off overall test’ (BOOT) for enterprise agreements, the complexity of the modern awards system, the future of casual work, greenfields agreements for small businesses (where new businesses liaise directly with a union on workplace conditions before hiring workers), and dealing with systemic wage theft.
Mr Morrison listed the below points in the set up for economic success over the next three to five years.
- Industrial relations
- Energy and resources
- Higher education
- Research and science
- Open banking
- The digital economy
- Infrastructure and regional development
- Deregulation and federation reform
- A tax system to support jobs and investment
Skills seemed an integral part of the JobMaker, with unemployment in Australia now around 10 per cent, according to estimates by the government, the coalition is committed to targeting employment growth by ensuring the workforce is educated and highly skilled.