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Victoria follows Austrlian government's lead on skills initiatives.



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Media Release

VICTORIA FOLLOWS AUSTRALIAN GOVERNMENT’S LEAD ON SKILLS INITIATIVES

June 1, 2006

Australian Government Minister for Vocational and Technical Education, the Hon Gary Hardgrave MP, says the Victorian Government’s investment in skills and training announced in this week’s State Budget is heading in the right direction.

“The Budget acknowledges the importance of skilling Australians to maintain the economic prosperity of Australia and goes some way to reinforce the partnership we are trying to nurture with the Victorian State Government,” Mr Hardgrave said.

“Unlike Federal Labor, Victorian Labor has shown they understand the need to provide encouragement to business and apprentices to start training and stay in training. Labor’s policies are geared the wrong way and conflict with the Victorian Budget announcements,” Mr Hardgrave said.

“The Victorian Government has value-added to the significant incentives and $10.8 billion investment over four years the Australian Government already has in place to address future skills needs,’’ Mr Hardgrave said.

The Australian Government’s existing incentives which include the $800 Tools for Your Trade kits, $1000 Commonwealth Trade Learning Scholarships for successful completion of first and second years in a skills shortage trade, will be complemented by the Victorian Government’s new Trade Bonus for all first-year apprentices of $500 on completion of their first year.

Coupled with the existing Australian Government Living Away from Home Allowance, the Victorian Government’s move to triple their current Apprentice and Trainee Accommodation Allowance will help make it more affordable for regional and remote Victorians to take up a trade apprenticeship.

“If you are in a traditional trade apprenticeship in Victoria after your first year, you will now get a $750 bonus when you count what

incentives the Australian Government already has in place, added to the Victorian measure. This will go a long way to further boosting the take-up of apprenticeships, ’’ Mr Hardgrave said.

“The Victorian Budget builds on the headway we have already made in having the Victorian Government introduce a full school-based apprenticeship scheme,” Mr Hardgrave said.

“The Budget acknowledges co-operation between the Australian Government and state governments is vital to a co-ordinated effort in the plan to skill Australians into the future, but it also exposes Deputy

Leader Jenny Macklin’s complete lack of understanding of the issues.”

“All Victoria now needs to do is amend their TAFE-centric Technical Education Centre plan and model the concept on the business-led Australian Technical College model,’’ Mr Hardgrave said.

The Australian Government has invested $343 million to establish 25 Australian Technical Colleges in 24 regions across the country, with the 22nd announced for Western Australia’s Pilbara region by Prime Minister John Howard last night.

Media Contact: Mr Hardgrave’s Office: Nikki Voss 0402 896 100

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