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Thursday, 3 May 1984
Page: 1553

Senator FOREMAN —My question, which is directed to the Minister representing the Minister for Employment and Industrial Relations, concerns the measures recently announced by the Government to provide incentives to employers to boost apprenticeship intakes. I ask the Minister: What sort of a response has there been to the scheme so far, especially from employers in my home State of South Australia?

Senator BUTTON —The announcement made by the Minister for Employment and Industrial Relations of policies designed to boost apprenticeship training and apprenticeship intakes was made on 1 March. It provided for a 4.3 per cent increase in the existing Commonwealth rebate for apprenticeship full-time training from 1 January 1984. The package also provided for a number of cash incentives to employers to encourage them to increase the levels of apprenticeship training. That package was to operate between 30 June year on year. Employers have until 30 June 1984 to take action to avail themselves of that package. At this stage it is not possible to give any sort of objective understanding of the success of the package because the time of notification of desiring to be in the scheme does not end until 30 June this year.

Figures on apprenticeship training are compiled by State apprenticeship commissions and one is not able to provide an across Australia picture of those figures at this stage. But it is believed by the commissions that the proposals announced by the Minister on 1 March have been well understood and accepted in the community, and there has been a good response to them, but not one which can be reflected in statistics at the moment. Insofar as South Australia is concerned, the State training authority has indicated that it believes the measures are having success in boosting apprenticeship intakes in South Australia and that there are already signs of improvement after what was really a disastrous year in 1983.