Albanese announces 180,000 fee-free TAFE places

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has used his opening speech and the national Jobs and Skills Summit to announce a TAFE training and skills blitz, headlined by 180,000 new fee-free TAFE places.

Albanese told assembled politicians, industrialists, union and community representatives that National Cabinet had this week reached an agreement between the Commonwealth and every State and Territory Government to create an additional 180,000 fee-free TAFE places, for 2023.

Albanese said: “This is a $1.1 billion package – and we’ve agreed to share the costs between the Commonwealth and the States and Territories.

“We will continue to co-operate on the design of a long-term National Skills Agreement, and indeed we have agreed to the principles that will shape it.

“But in recognition of the urgent challenges facing our nation, we are taking action now – with a billion-dollar training blitz, driven by public TAFE.”

Albanese told delegates that the government wanted to see more Australians gaining the skills they need to find good jobs, in areas of national priority.

“And I want this to be the beginning – not the end – of the progress that we see on skills and training over the next two days.

“Because it’s my great hope that this Jobs and Skills Summit marks the beginning of a new culture of co-operation.

“A new focus on working together, to deal with the urgent challenges our economy is facing.

“And new efforts to build together for the long-term, so Australians can seize and own the opportunities of the next decade.”

Albanese made a plea for new thinking, saying that he hoped the summit would not be ‘playing our greatest hits, re-hashing the same arguments or re-heating old conflicts’.

“We have not gathered here to dig deeper trenches on the same old battlefield – Our goal and indeed our responsibility – all of us – is to carry the conversation to the common ground, where the work is done and the progress is made.”

The Prime Minister outlines the Summit’s agenda which he said reflected the challenges that the industries and businesses and people you represent are dealing with every day:

  • Staff and skill shortages
  • Missing links in supply chains
  • Growing demand on our caring and community sector
  • An energy grid past its use by date
  • Structural barriers that deny women equality – in opportunity, in pay and in financial security
  • And the squeeze of stagnant wages and rising living costs.

Albanese said: “These challenges are significant – but more than that, they are urgent.”

Picture: Anthony Albanese

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