THE HON TANYA PLIBERSEK MP
SHADOW MINISTER FOR EDUCATION AND TRAINING
MEMBER FOR SYDNEY
WEDNESDAY, 23 OCTOBER 2019
SUBJECTS: Liberals shortchanging TAFE and Training, ‘big stick’ legislation.
TANYA PLIBERSEK MP, SHADOW MINISTER FOR EDUCATION AND TRAINING: We've been looking at Department of Education Annual Reports that show that this government has spent $919 million less than it promised on TAFE, training and apprenticeships. We've got the lowest number of apprentices and trainees in 10 years. There are 150,000 fewer apprentices and trainees today than when the Liberals came to office. Now this is in the face of skills shortages right across Australia, we've got shortages in plumbing, carpentry, electricians, mechanics, pastry chefs, hair dressers right across the economy, desperate shortages. Three quarters of employers tell us that they can't find the skilled staff they need. At the same time we've got close to 2 million Australians who don't have a job or want more hours at work. This government is asleep at the wheel, if we lock Australians out of training and education, we are locking them out of a job, if we deny businesses the trained staff they need we are holding them back. Any questions?
JOURNALIST: Tanya you've been in government, how quickly could this money be released?
PLIBERSEK: It should have been spent already. This money is in the Budget, this is not the $3 billion of cuts that the Government has made, we've been very critical of these cuts. This is money that, year after year, is being under-spent by the Government. Money that is there, that is waiting, that's in the bank ready to go and this Government doesn't have the wit to spend it.
JOURNALIST: Balancing the budget?
PLIBERSEK: I don't know whether they’re mean or incompetent.
JOURNALIST: Are you confident that the Big Stick Legislation will reduce power bills and, if not, why is Labor backing it?
PLIBERSEK: Well, it's obviously not exactly the way that we would deal with this issue but given the Government's now had 16 energy policies, we think it is important to provide some certainty into the future. There have been several important changes made to the original legislation including a commitment from the Government that this is not a backdoor way of privatising the energy industry. What we need, really, is a government that is committed to proper reforms, we were prepared to support the Government on the National Energy Guarantee, we offered bipartisanship on several of their energy policies. The problem has been they haven't been able to get agreement in their party room. We want to see certainty, stability, we want to see more investment, especially in renewables, to bring down power prices for Australian families and businesses.
JOURNALIST: But Tanya does this legislation deliver that certainty that you want to see?
PLIBERSEK: Well it's an improvement on the chaos that exists at the moment that this Government...
JOURNALIST: But it doesn't deliver the certainty you want to see?
PLIBERSEK: No, I think it's an improvement on what the Government has been offering up until now which is energy policy after energy policy, no real change and no certainty. Thank you.