Scott Morrison will hand industry greater power in shaping Australia’s skills and training system in a major coronavirus recovery shake-up.
The prime minister on Tuesday will unveil part of the Coalition’s economic plan designed to claw the nation back from pandemic-induced pain, which he’s dubbed JobMaker.
Overhauling the skills system will be a priority to stimulate job creation in a changing labour market.
Under Mr Morrison’s plan, funding would be more closely linked to skill gaps based on what businesses need.
Industry will be given greater power to shape training, with pilot schemes across human services, digital technologies and mining used as examples for other sectors.
Mr Morrison will make the case to ditch a “clunky and unresponsive” system in favour of more consistency across states and greater transparency around spending.
“The current National Agreement for Skills and Workforce Development is also fundamentally flawed and needs to change,” the prime minister will tell the National Press Club in Canberra.
Mr Morrison will flag changes to the funding model, which sees $1.5 billion of federal cash flow to state governments annually for skills and training.
“The Commonwealth has no line of sight on how states use this funding,” he is expected to say.
“Where targets do exist, they are aspirational. If not met, there are no consequences.” Subsidies, loans and other funding would be based on the scope for return on investment.
The National Skills Commission will provide detailed labour market analysis to replace lists of apprenticeships and skilled migration, along with other up-to-date data.
Mr Morrison’s JobMaker plan rejects calls for government to play a major role in recovery over a longer period of time.
“At some point you’ve got to get your economy out of ICU,” he will say. “You’ve got to get it off the medication before it becomes too accustomed to it.”
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Mr Morrison is also expected to outline a process guiding industrial relations reform, considered another crucial area in the economic rebuild.
The prime minister will warn against retreating into a “downward spiral” of protectionism on trade while stressing the importance of reducing debt burdens.
“We must not borrow from future generations what we cannot return to them,” he will say.
The government is also eyeing tax reform, deregulation, energy and the federation as other key areas for its economic plans.
Mr Morrison believes reopening the economy must be followed by a concerted effort to create momentum and rebuild confidence.
“This will provide the platform to reset our economy for growth over the next three to five years, as Australia and the world emerges from this crisis,” he will say.
“The overwhelming priority of this reset will be to win the battle for jobs.”
WHAT’S IN JOBMAKER?
JobSeeker is the rebadged name for the dole and other payments. JobKeeper is a six-month wage subsidy scheme. Now the government has JobMaker, an economic plan for the future.
And this is why:
* Government debt rising above 30 per cent of GDP.
* Unemployment at 10 per cent.
* Global trade expected to fall by up to one third and global foreign direct investment by up to 40 per cent.
The JobMaker plan includes:
* International trade agreements and support for exporters.
* “Caring for country” at heart of environmental management.
* A high-skilled workforce capable of delivering a stable and innovative finance sector, advanced manufacturing, world-class mining and agriculture, as well as scientific, medical and space research and technology development.
* An opportunity for “those who have a go, to get a go”, including access to essential services.
* Doing “what makes the boat go faster”, supporting small, medium and large businesses through skills, affordable and reliable energy, research, access to finance, more efficient taxes, less regulation and workplace relations reform.
* The federal government will work with the states and territories to overhaul a “clunky and unresponsive” skills and training system.
* Pilot schemes will allow industry sectors to shape the system to their specific needs.
* The reforms will simplify the thousands of qualifications and units of competency on offer, as well as they way they are funded.
* National Skills Commission will provide detailed labour market analysis, including an annual report setting out Australia’s skill needs, replacing the existing lists for apprenticeships and skilled migration.
* The current $1.5 billion agreement with the states and territories will be changed, with performance measures and greater national consistency (modelled on the hospitals deal which locks in efficient pricing and activity-based funding).