School leavers, young Australians and the jobless will be targeted under a $1 billion budget plan to train and reskill the workforce to drive the unemployment rate well below pre-pandemic levels.
- JobTrainer was designed for 17 to 24-year-olds and the unemployed
- It was scheduled to expire in September
- An extension will need to be negotiated with premiers and chief ministers
The ABC can reveal Tuesday’s budget will extend the JobTrainer program for another 12 months, with tens of thousands of people to be offered free or low-fee courses equipping them for work in areas of shortages, including aged care, IT and childcare.
JobTrainer, which was designed for 17 to 24-year-olds and the unemployed, was scheduled to expire in September. Being half-funded by the states and territories, any extension of the scheme would have to be negotiated with premiers and chief ministers.
On top of JobTrainer, Treasurer Josh Frydenberg has indicated, in a wide-ranging interview with the ABC, that an existing apprenticeship program may also be expanded, given its take-up rate has been much faster than anticipated.
Tens of thousands of people will be offered courses equipping them for work in areas of shortages, including childcare, IT and aged care.(ABC North Queensland: Nathalie Fernbach
“JobTrainer has been a very successful program more than 100,000 places already and that is helping equip people with the skills they need to find the work that they need,” Mr Frydenberg said.
“Let’s not also forget our wage subsidy for apprenticeships. We put in place a wage subsidy to support 100,000 apprentices thinking it will take 12 months or longer for them to get into work. We did that in five months, and we topped up that apprentice wage subsidy scheme.”
Government aims for 4.5 per cent unemployment rate
The Treasurer wants to push the unemployment rate currently 5.6 per cent towards 4.5 per cent, after being advised by Treasury that this would help lift wages and get inflation between the target band of 2 and 3 per cent.
“We have a historic opportunity to drive the unemployment rate even lower back to where it was pre-pandemic and even lower still,” Mr Frydenberg said.
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“And if you compare the labour market’s response to this recession compared to the 80s and 90s recession, unemployment has come back a lot faster.”
New or extended jobs training programs will be part-funded by the $4 billion JobMaker Hiring Credit program, which has proven to be a flop and is facing the axe.
Announced in the October budget, it was meant to generate 450,000 jobs from 2020-21 to 2022-23, but so far it has only supported about 1,100 jobs.
The scheme promised employers $200 a week if they hired an eligible employee aged 16 to 29, or $100 per week if they hired an eligible employee aged 30 to 35.
Josh Frydenberg speaks to political editor Andrew Probyn about the federal budget.
“We’ve had a lot of programs that have been designed to support the labour market JobKeeper obviously being the most significant, keeping that formal connection between employers and employees,” Mr Frydenberg said.
He said new data showed 105,000 people came off income support in April, after the wage subsidy scheme Jobkeeper ended in late March.
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“The net outcome is the one we’re focused on, which is the unemployment rate. It’s come down substantially, and again Australia has outperformed the rest of the world, when our employment levels are now back above where they were pre-pandemic.”
Mr Frydenberg revealed the budget his third as Treasurer would allocate more than $10 billion extra towards aged care over the next four years.
Tens of thousands more home care packages will be funded, as well as improving standards and attracting and retraining workers to the sector.