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Training rorts widespread.

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Media Release



Manager of Opposition Business in the Senate

Labor’s Parliamentary Secretary for Education



[6 May 1999]



Documents tabled by Senator Kim Carr at Senate Estimates late last night show that abuse of Commonwealth employer incentives for vocational education and training is far more widespread than previously thought.


“Alarm bells are ringing after further revelations of widespread rorting of employer financial incentives for TAFE,” Labor’s Parliamentary Secretary for Education, Senator Kim Carr, said.


Senator Carr provided a Senate Committee with evidence of companies which have apparently signed up their entire workforce as trainees, in order to take advantage of generous Commonwealth incentives and to avoid State Workcare and payroll tax payments.


The Senate Estimates Committee heard evidence of widespread rorting involving:


·  Police;

·  Hospital workers;

·  Nurses;

·  State government departments;

·  The clergy and;

·  The entire workforce of a major insurance company.


“This is clearly only the tip of the iceberg,” Senator Carr said. “This amounts to a massive waste of public funds on essentially non-existent education and training.


“Because of loopholes and weaknesses in accountability mechanisms of the existing system, companies are able to exploit the New Apprenticeship program and gain advantage of substantial Commonwealth and State subsidies. Meanwhile, typically, little or no training is actually provided.”


Senator Carr tabled at the Estimates Committee a statutory declaration from a worker who had signed up for a traineeship in his workplace but had received no training. At the same time, under the Commonwealth training program, his employer would have enjoyed a subsidy worth thousands of dollars, Senator Carr said.


“Serious questions must be asked about the wisdom of Dr Kemp’s unilateral decision to expand the system of employer incentives to existing workers. These incentives are part of a $300 million subsidy package, which underpins the New Apprenticeship program.


“Under the current arrangements, employers can receive up to $5000 as a reward for employing a trainee or for converting an existing worker into a trainee. “Unfortunately, there are few checks and balances in place at either a Commonwealth or State level to ensure that this money goes to support genuine vocational education and training.” Senator Carr said.


For further information contact: Senator Kim Carr 02 6277 3730