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Adult apprenticeship incentive cuts anger employers



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j.forrest.mp@aph.gov.au www.jforrest.com 60 Campbell Street, Swan Hill VIC 3585 ph 03 5032 4510 fax 03 5032 9407

Friday, 11 January 2013

ADULT APPRENTICESHIP INCENTIVE CUTS ANGER EMPLOYERS.

The Nationals Federal Member for Mallee John Forrest says Labor’s Mid-year Economic and Fiscal Outlook 2012-13 (MYEFO) apprentice incentive cuts will disillusion many adults seeking re-training to remain in the work-force.

Mr Forrest said the Gillard Labor Government’s decision to slash the apprenticeship incentives under the Support for Adult Australian Apprentices initiative in the recent Mid-Year Economic Fiscal Outlook was “indicative of the desperation of this Government to find any possible savings”.

“Cutting the lifeline to employment for adult apprentices sends a negative message to those people who have often been retrenched but who would prefer to continue working in a new occupation if they can get training,” Mr Forrest said.

“The Coalition understands the importance of helping adult apprentices and I assure you that if a Coalition Government is elected at the next election, we will be committed to ensuring that apprenticeship incentives are targeted towards where the support is most needed.”

The Government has replaced the current employer component of the Support for Adult Australian Apprentices (SAAA) program with a single $4000 lump sum payment, paid to employers at the end of the first year of an apprenticeship to save an estimated $81.2 million over four years.

Under previous arrangements, employers who paid an apprentice at a level at or above the national minimum wage could receive weekly payments of $150 over the first year of the apprenticeship, up to $7800 in total, and payments of $100 per week over the second year of an apprenticeship, up to $5200 in total.

Current employers of first year apprentices who have been receiving weekly payments will continue to do so until they have received $7800 maximum total payments.

“With substantially reduced incentives, potential employers will be doing their sums and re-considering any plans to take on adult apprentices,” Mr Forrest said.

“I am concerned that in our changing economic environment, we might see people consigned to the employment scrap heap when in fact they could be productive for many years to come if they receive essential re-training.

“These cuts don’t make sense at a time when Australia should be increasing national productivity. We must encourage, not discourage, employers to hire and re-train adults,” Mr Forrest said.

Mr Forrest can be contacted on 0428500186.