In an earlier article in VDC News we introduced readers to this new statutory body which will sit within the Commonwealth Department of Employment and Workplace Relations.
According to Denham Sadler, the national affairs manager at InnovationAUS.com, Jobs and Skills Australia will replace the National Skills Commission (NSC), with accompanying legislation introduced to scrap this body established by the former Coalition government following the Joyce Review. Sadler says:
“The new body will have a wider remit to work in partnership with key stakeholders compared with the Commission, the government said, and will have a more strategic focus.”
According to an NSC news release, “A period of consultation will soon commence on the permanent model for Jobs and Skills Australia, including as part of September’s Jobs and Skills Summit. The NSC will “continue to provide updates on the implementation and consultation period of Jobs and Skills Australia.”
The text of the legislation to establish Jobs and Skills Australia and relevant second reading speeches can be found here. Other details about it are beginning to emerge through press releases and interviews with The Hon Brendan O’Connor, Minister for Skills and Training.
The Albanese Government has made it clear that it is keen to see Jobs and Skills Australia commence promptly under an interim director before decisions are made about its permanent structure and functions. Minister O’Connor in his press release said that JSA “will work closely 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.”
The Minister also said that JSA “will also examine the adequacy of the VET system in delivering these skills and making sure Australians of all backgrounds have the training and skills to access job opportunities now and in future.”
In an ABC Interview with Greg Jennett on 26 July, Minister O’Connor noted a “need to turn to immigration and fix up those skilled immigration streams” with a commitment to unclog the 60,000 visa applications that have been held up. “We are now acting upon them and expediting those applications in areas of acute shortage,” he said. He also suggested that “what has happened too often is we haven’t been investing in areas where the skills were required and that’s not good for workers and is not good for business.” This is where this new agency comes in.
Finally, the Minister sees a need to work with TAFEs and private providers, but
“We want to make sure that we fund at the Commonwealth level at least 70 per cent into TAFEs. We want TAFEs to be the centre of technical and vocational training.”