New government puts skills and jobs first

The federal government has demonstrated its priorities by making the very first piece of legislation it introduced to Parliament that which will establish the new body Jobs and Skills Australia (JSA).

With Labor introducing more than a dozen substantive pieces of legislation this week, the establishment upfront of a new independent agency, responsible for providing advice to the government to underpin Australia’s response to labour market and workforce skills and training needs is welcome.

Minister for Skills and Training Brendan O’Connor said in a statement that the bill was a critical priority of the new government.

JSA will work with state and territory governments, industry, employers, trade unions and training providers to ensure a shared understanding of the key issues facing Australia’s labour market, he said.

“As a nation we are experiencing skills and labour shortages across industries that are vital to the health and wellbeing of Australians and our economy.

“After nearly a decade of inaction under the previous government, made worse by the decision to abandon migrant workers during the pandemic lockdowns, it’s vital to plan and to act to ensure that Australia has the skills it needs.”

Importantly, JSA will also examine the adequacy of the VET system in delivering skills and ensuring access for all to the training system.

“Establishing an interim Jobs and Skills Australia Director will enable its critical work to commence quickly, while extensive consultation on the ongoing functions and structure of JSA occurs.

“JSA will build on the work started by the National Skills Commission, but with a much broader remit to address issues in the skills and training sector, while forging closer partnerships with key stakeholders.

“It will also play an active role in workforce planning to look at future trends.”

Picture: Brendan O’Connor

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