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Education and Employment Legislation Committee—Senate Standing—Additional estimates 2020-21—Report, dated April 2021


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April 2021

The Senate

Education and Employment Legislation Committee

Additional estimates 2020-21

© Commonwealth of Australia 2021

ISBN 978-1-76093-212-1

This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 4.0 International License.

The details of this licence are available on the Creative Commons website: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/.

Printed by the Senate Printing Unit, Parliament House, Canberra

iii

Table of Contents

Members ............................................................................................................................................... v

Chapter 1—Overview ......................................................................................................................... 1

Portfolio coverage ................................................................................................................................ 1

Portfolio Additional Estimates Statements 2020-21 ........................................................................ 1

Hearings ................................................................................................................................................ 1

Questions on notice.............................................................................................................................. 2

Hansard transcripts ............................................................................................................................. 3

Chapter 2—Hearings .......................................................................................................................... 5

Attorney-General's portfolio, Industrial Relations matters - Wednesday, 24 March 2021 ....... 5

Attorney-General's Department ............................................................................................. 5

Safe Work Australia .................................................................................................................. 6

Comcare ..................................................................................................................................... 6

Fair Work Ombudsman ........................................................................................................... 7

Fair Work Commission ............................................................................................................ 7

Registered Organisations Commission.................................................................................. 8

Asbestos Safety and Eradication Agency .............................................................................. 8

Coal Mining Industry (Long Service Leave Funding) Corporation .................................. 9

Australian Building and Construction Commission ........................................................... 9

Industry, Science, Energy and Resources portfolio, Small and Family Business matters - Wednesday, 24 March 2021 ................................................................................................... 10

Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources ................................................. 10

Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman ..................................... 10

Education, Skills and Employment Portfolio - Thursday, 25 March 2021 ................................ 11

Department of Education, Skills and Employment .......................................................... 11

National Skills Commission .................................................................................................. 15

Australian Skills Quality Authority ..................................................................................... 15

Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority ....................................... 15

Australian Research Council ................................................................................................. 16

Appendix 1—Committee oversight of departments and agencies .......................................... 17

v

Members

Chair Senator the Hon James McGrath LP, QLD

Deputy Chair Senator Louise Pratt ALP, WA

Members Senator Perin Davey NATS, NSW

Senator Mehreen Faruqi AG, NSW

Senator Deborah O'Neill ALP, NSW

Senator Matt O'Sullivan LP, WA

Secretariat Mr Alan Raine, Acting Committee Secretary Ms Aysha Osborne, Principal Research Officer Mr Michael Perks, Acting Senior Research Officer Mr Russell Thomson, Research Officer Ms Stephanie Oberman, Administration Officer

Committee web page: www.aph.gov.au/senate_eec

PO Box 6100 E-mail: eec.sen@aph.gov.au

Parliament House Ph: 02 6277 3521

Canberra ACT 2600 Fax: 02 6277 5706

1

Chapter 1 Overview

1.1 On 18 February 2021, the Senate referred the following documents to the Education and Employment Legislation Committee (the committee) for examination and report:

 Particulars of proposed additional expenditure in respect of the year ending on 30 June 2021 [Appropriation Bill (No. 3) 2020-2021]  Particulars of certain proposed additional expenditure in respect of the year ending on 30 June 2021 [Appropriation Bill (No. 4) 2020-2021]  Estimates of proposed additional expenditure for 2020-21-Portfolio

additional statements-Portfolios and executive departments.1

Portfolio coverage 1.2 In accordance with a resolution of the Senate on 31 August 2016, as amended on 12 February 2018 and on 13 February 2020, the committee is responsible for the examination of the expenditure and outcomes of the following portfolios:

 Education, Skills and Employment, including Industrial Relations  Industry, Science, Energy and Resources, excluding Industry, Science, Energy and Resources but including Small Business. 2

1.3 A full list of agencies is available at Appendix 1.

Portfolio Additional Estimates Statements 2020-21 1.4 The Portfolio Additional Estimates Statements (PAES) 2020-21 for the Education, Skills and Employment portfolio, the Attorney-General's portfolio (covering Industrial Relations matters) and the Industry, Science, Energy and

Resources portfolio (covering Small Business matters) were tabled in the Senate on 18 February 2020.3

Hearings 1.5 On 1 December 2020, the Minister for Families and Social Services, Senator the Hon. Anne Ruston, by leave, moved that Additional estimates hearings for the committee would occur from Wednesday, 24 March 2021 to

Thursday, 25 March 2021.4

1 Journals of the Senate, No. 88, 18 February 2021, p. 3110.

2 Journals of the Senate, No. 42, 13 February 2020, p. 1368.

3 Journals of the Senate, No. 88, 18 February 2021, p. 3110.

4 Journals of the Senate, No. 75, 1 December 2020, pp. 2635-2636.

2

1.6 Accordingly, the committee agreed to consider particulars of expenditure as follows:

 Employment and Industrial Relations matters, including Small Business—24 March 2021  Education, Skills and Employment matters—25 March 2021.

1.7 The first day focused on employment and industrial relations matters under the responsibility of the Attorney-General's Department and its agencies, and on small business matters under the responsibility of the

Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources and its agencies. The second day focused on the Education, Skills and Employment portfolio under the responsibility of the Department of Education, Skills and Employment and its agencies.

1.8 The committee heard evidence from the following Minsters:

 Senator the Hon. Michaelia Cash, Minister for Employment, Skills, Small and Family Business  Senator the Hon. Jonathon Duniam, Assistant Minister for Forestry and Fisheries, and Assistant Minister for Industry representing the Minister for

Industrial Relations  Senator the Hon. Amanda Stoker, Assistant Minister to the Attorney-General representing the Minister for Education.

1.9 Evidence was also provided by the following departmental secretaries who were accompanied by officers of their portfolio departments and agencies:

 Mr Iain Anderson, Acting Secretary, Attorney-General's Department  Mr David Fredericks PSM, Secretary, Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources  Dr Michele Bruniges AM, Secretary, Department of Education, Skills and

Employment.

1.10 The committee extends its appreciation to the Ministers and officers of the departments and agencies who assisted the committee in conducting its 2020-21 Additional estimates hearings.

Questions on notice 1.11 In accordance with Standing Order 26(9)(a), the committee agreed that the date for the return of answers in response to questions placed on notice from the Additional estimates 2020-21 hearings from 24 to 25 March would be

7 May 2021.

1.12 Answers to questions on notice are published as they become available on the committee's website: www.aph.gov.au/Parliamentary_Business/Senate_ Estimates/ee

3

Hansard transcripts 1.13 Committee Hansard transcripts are accessible on the committee’s website: https://www.aph.gov.au/Parliamentary_Business/Senate_estimates/ee/2020-21_Additional_estimates.

1.14 In this report, references to the Committee Hansard are to the proof transcripts. Page numbers may vary between the transcripts of the Proof Hansard and the Official Hansard.

5

Chapter 2 Hearings

2.1 This chapter lists the key topics discussed for each department and agency examined during the committee's hearings for Additional estimates 2020-21. Page numbers of the Proof Hansard for that day's hearing are indicated in brackets as a reference.1

Attorney-General's portfolio, Industrial Relations matters - Wednesday, 24 March 2021

Attorney-General's Department 2.2 Both Senator the Hon Michaelia Cash, Minister for Employment, Skills, Small and Family Business and Mr Iain Anderson, Acting Secretary of the Attorney-General's Department did not make an opening statement.

2.3 Topics discussed for the Industrial Relations Group included:

 The Fair Entitlements Guarantee (FEG), particularly in relation to the printing company Ovato and their intentions to use the scheme (pp. 4-6)  The precedent set by Ovato in restructuring their business to make use of the FEG (pp. 6-8)  The proportion of casual employees and labour hire workers to overall

employees in Australia and how this has been affected by COVID-19 (pp. 10-11)  Recent legislation relating to the withdrawal of registered organisations (pp. 11-13)  Work being done by the Attorney-General's Department to protect the

rights of gig workers, particularly those in food delivery and ride share (pp. 13-18)  Minimum wage for gig workers and their classification as contractors or employees according to the law (pp.15-17)  Discrepancies between the Sex Discrimination Act 1984 and Fair Work Act

2009 in terms of which cohorts of the LGBTIQ+ community are protected (pp. 18-19)  Employment protections for emergency services volunteers under the Fair Work Act 2009 (pp. 19-20)  Reporting in the Australian Financial Review that the Attorney-General had

appointed former Liberal MP, Sophie Mirabella, to the Fair Work Commission (pp. 20-22)

1 Page numbers may vary between the Proof and Official Hansard transcripts when published.

6

 Wage theft provisions in the Fair Work Amendment (Supporting Australia's Jobs and Economic Recovery) Bill 2020 (Fair Work Omnibus Bill), recently voted on in the Senate2 (pp. 22-24)  Which of the 34 recommendations set by the Review of the model Work Health

and Safety laws - Final Report (Boland Review)3 had received the necessary two-thirds support from state jurisdictions (pp. 25-26)  Undocumented workers, particularly in the horticultural industry (pp. 27-28).

Safe Work Australia 2.4 Ms Michelle Baxter, Chief Executive Officer of Safe Work Australia (SWA), did not make an opening statement.

2.5 Topics discussed for SWA included:

 Hazards around workers being exposed to silica dust and measures SWA are taking to minimise this risk (pp. 28-30)  Data gathered by SWA surrounding injuries that occur to gig workers, particularly rideshare and food delivery workers (pp. 30-32)  Payment systems used by rideshare and food delivery companies which

incentivise unsafe practice—for example, driving in inclement weather or speeding in traffic (p. 33)  SWA's response to the Respect@Work: Sexual Harassment National Inquiry Report (Respect@Work)4 (pp. 34-35)  SWA's involvement in implementing recommendations of the Migrant

Workers Taskforce (pp. 36-37)  How SWA is educating the community and raising awareness of psychological health in the workplace (p. 38).

Comcare 2.6 Ms Susan Weston PSM, Chief Executive Officer of Comcare, did not make an opening statement.

2.7 Topics discussed for Comcare included:

 Comcare's ongoing investigations into the actions of Mr Gerard Boyce, Deputy President, Fair Work Commission (pp. 39-42)  An outline of the steps Comcare take when processing new claims and how stakeholders are contacted along the timeline of the claim (pp. 42-43)  How Comcare is dealing with the increase in claims due to psychological

injury in the workplace (p. 44)

2 Journals of the Senate, No. 96, 18 March 2021, pp. 3336-3349.

3 Safe Work Australia, Review of the model Work Health and Safety laws - Final report, December 2018.

4 Australian Human Rights Commission, Respect@Work: Sexual Harassment National Inquiry Report,

March 2020.

7

 Actions taken by Comcare in relation to the recent sexual abuse allegations within the Australian Parliament House (pp. 46-47).

Fair Work Ombudsman 2.8 Ms Sandra Parker PSM, Fair Work Ombudsman (FWO), did not make an opening statement.

2.9 Topics discussed for the FWO included:

 Investigations into FunTea regarding the underpayment of their employees and the blacklisting in the public domain of international students who pursue their full entitlements (pp. 47-49)

 FWO's ongoing investigation into alleged wage theft at the Melbourne Crown Casino and more broadly how the FWO engage with industrial organisations, such as unions and other stakeholders, during an investigation (pp. 49-53)

 Amounts recovered by the FWO's sham contracting unit established in the 2019-20 Budget (pp. 53-54)  The FWO's input into the Fair Work Omnibus Bill working group (p. 55)  Black coal mine workers classed as casuals even though there is no

classification of 'casual' in the black coal mine industry award (p 57)  Support the FWO is providing businesses and their employees regarding the updated casual employment conditions resulting from the Fair Work

Omnibus Bill (pp. 57-59)  The Harvest Trail Inquiry Report5 and the progress made identifying any further recalcitrant behaviour since Budget estimates in October 2020 (pp. 59-61).

Fair Work Commission 2.10 Mr Murray Furlong, Acting General Manager, Fair Work Commission (FWC), did not make an opening statement.

 Mr Furlong read a statement regarding an investigation into an incident where firecrackers were set off on the balcony of the Sydney offices of the FWC (p. 63)

 Actions taken by the FWC following a Comcare investigation and subsequent report into what were deemed inappropriate figurines displayed in a deputy president's office (pp. 63-65)

 Actions taken by the FWC following a Comcare investigation into allegations a deputy president used firecrackers on the balcony of the Sydney offices of the FWC (pp. 66-67)

5 Fair Work Ombudsman, Harvest Trail Inquiry Report, 2018.

8

 How the FWC apply the 'better off overall test' (BOOT) to assess employee conditions under a new agreement, specifically regarding black coal miners (pp. 68-69)  Recent amendments to the Fair Work Act 2009 regarding casual conversion

and how the FWC have responded (pp. 69-70)  The complex nature of the Fair Work Act 2009 and how it effects Australian businesses (p. 70)  Desired skills and temperament for a commissioner or deputy president in

the context of public speculation that Ms Sophie Mirabella will be appointed to the FWC as one of its members (pp.71-73).

Registered Organisations Commission 2.11 Mr Mark Bielecki, Commissioner of the Registered Organisations Commission (ROC), made an opening statement reflecting on the November 2020 Federal Court decision to allow the ROC to continue its investigation into alleged

financial misconduct by the Australian Workers Union (AWU).

2.12 Topics discussed for the ROC included:

 The costs of defending the ROC's actions against the AWU and allowing it to recommence its investigation (p. 75)  Costs and the nature of the ROC's interactions with consultants engaged for legal advice, IT projects, advertising and market research (pp. 76-77)  Download figures for the ROC's official podcast, ROCpod (p. 77)  Details of the ROC's investigation into the AWU following the

Federal Courts recent decision referred to previously (pp. 78-82).

Asbestos Safety and Eradication Agency 2.13 Ms Justine Ross, Chief Executive Officer of the Asbestos Safety and Eradication Agency (ASEA), did not make an opening statement.

2.14 Topics discussed for the ASEA included:

 The agency's role in coordinating the implementation of the National Strategic Plan for Asbestos Awareness and Management and its current priorities, such as:

− Engaging with hardware stores such as Bunnings and Mitre 10; − Asbestos Awareness Week held in November; − Developing a national picture of where asbestos still remains; and − Improving the tracking of asbestos waste (pp. 82-83)

 Non-occupational exposures to asbestos (p. 83)  Instances of gig workers being paid to remove asbestos without appropriate licenses (p. 84)  Changes to state rental agreements in relation to preventing exposure

(pp. 84-85)

9

 The increased potential risks involved in do-it-yourself (DIY) projects during COVID-19 lockdowns and the DIY Home Renovations Research prepared for the ASEA (pp. 85-86).

Coal Mining Industry (Long Service Leave Funding) Corporation 2.15 Ms Darlene Perks, Chief Executive Officer of the Coal Mining Industry (Long Service Leave Funding) Corporation (Coal LSL), agreed to table her opening statement as requested by the Chair.

2.16 Topics discussed for the Coal LSL included:

 Coal LSL guidance explaining how it calculates Long Service Leave employer payroll levies for casual and permanent employees and how it interprets the Coal LSL Payroll Levy Collection Act 1992 (pp. 86-88)

 Waiver agreements available to casual workers to have their Coal LSL contributions redirected and the ability for coal workers to find information on the subject (p. 88).

Australian Building and Construction Commission 2.17 Mr Stephen McBurney, Commissioner of the Australian Building and Construction Commission (ABCC), did not make an opening statement.

2.18 Topics discussed for the ABCC included:

 Total resources the ABCC dedicate to the investigation of sham contracting (pp. 89-91)  Amount of cases commenced and penalties recovered from investigations into sham contracting in the previous seven years (p. 91)  ABCC's approach to managing sham contracting according to the rules set

out in the Fair Work Act 1992 (pp. 93-93)  Litigation matters the ABCC has recently been involved in, particularly those concerning abuse and intimidation on worksites (pp. 94-96)  The amount of penalties imposed this financial year and how much of those

penalties are accounted for by the Construction, Forestry, Maritime, Mining and Energy Union (CFMMEU) (p. 97)  The ABCC's interpretation and enforcement of section 13(2)(j) of the Australian Building Code relating to the incorrect display of building

association logos, mottos or indicia on clothing, property or equipment supplied by a worksite (pp. 97-102)  Freedom of association cases penalising the CFMMEU (p. 103)  How the ABCC is combating the non-payment of superannuation fees by employers in the construction industry (pp. 103-104).

10

Industry, Science, Energy and Resources portfolio, Small and Family Business matters - Wednesday, 24 March 2021

Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources 2.19 Neither Senator the Hon Michaelia Cash, Minister for Employment, Skills, Small and Family Business, nor Mr David Fredericks PSM, Secretary of the Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources, made opening

statements.

2.20 Topics discussed for Small and Family Business matters included:

 The recent appointment of Mr Bruce Bilson as the Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman (pp. 106-114)  How small businesses are positioned as Australia recovers from the economic shocks caused by COVID-19 (p. 115)  The effect of government incentives since COVID-19 such as JobKeeper, tax

measures and recovery loans (p. 116)  Feedback from small businesses regarding the cessation of the JobKeeper payment (pp. 116-17)  The department's level of consultation with small business regarding the

mutual obligations required by those receiving the JobSeeker payment (pp. 118-119).

Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman 2.21 Mr Bruce Bilson, the Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman (ASBFEO), made an opening statement where he paid tribute to his predecessor, Ms Kate Carnell, AO.

2.22 Mr Bilson also briefly outlined his intentions as the new Ombudsman and mentioned several ways the ASBFEO has assisted small business recover from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

2.23 Topics discussed for the ASBFEO included:

 General feedback from small business regarding JobKeeper and their concerns about accommodation of loans they may have with banks or lease arrangements coming to an end (pp. 120-121)

 How small business may gain access to finance and possible loan schemes which may help small business cope with the changed landscape post COVID-19 (pp. 121-122)

 Actions Mr Bilson took in a previous role as executive chairman of the Franchise Council of Australia (pp. 122-125 & 129-131)  Guidance provided by the ASBFEO to farmers regarding industry specific codes of conduct (pp. 126-127)  The complexities of the Fair Work Act 2009 and what can be done to reduce

industrial relations complexity for small business (pp. 128-129).

11

Education, Skills and Employment Portfolio - Thursday, 25 March 2021

Department of Education, Skills and Employment 2.24 Neither Senator the Hon Michaelia Cash, Minister for Employment, Skills, Small and Family Business nor Dr Michelle Bruniges AM, Secretary of the Department of Education, Skills and Employment (DESE), made an opening statement.

Corporate and Enabling Services 2.25 Topics discussed for the Department of Education, Skills and Employment - Corporate and Enabling Services included:

 How the youth portfolio, acquired by DESE on 18 March 2021, is structured within the department (pp. 8-9).

Early Childhood and Childcare 2.26 Topics discussed for the Department of Education, Skills and Employment - Early Childhood and Childcare included:

 Out-of-pocket costs for families paying for childcare (pp. 10-14 & 21-24)  Anticipated fee increases for childcare (pp. 12 -14)  The effects on workforce participation for women over the last three years since the introduction of the Child Care Package (pp. 14-15)

 Details of support provided to childcare centres during COVID-19 and how the support has encouraged female participation in the workforce (p. 15)  The impact on families receiving subsidised childcare when the suspended activity test is re-introduced on 4 April 2021 (pp. 16-17)  Future projections surrounding the number of educators needed in the early

childhood and childcare workforce sector (pp. 17-18)  Cultural diversity in the early childhood and childcare sector (p. 18)  Participation rates of three- and four-year-olds in early childhood education in Australia compared to other members of the Organisation for Economic

Co-operation and Development (OECD) (pp. 19-20)  Fixed term funding for the National Partnership on Universal Access to Early Childhood Education (p. 21)  State by state numbers for staffing waivers for long-day-care services (p. 27)  Growth rates of not-for-profit childcare centres and the quality of care

provided (p. 28)  Naming and shaming of early childhood and childcare centres that have increased their fees (pp. 29-30).

12

Schools 2.27 Topics discussed for the Department of Education, Skills and Employment - Schools included:

 Targets for 2030 aspiring to place Australia among the top of OECD nations across reading, maths and science mentioned in a speech by the Minister for Education and Youth, the Hon Alan Tudge6 (pp. 31-36)

 Amount spent on the Respect Matters program during the 2020-21 financial year (pp. 37-39, 43 & 50-51)  The future rollout of an online learning platform with programs designed for foundation year to year 12 students teaching respectful relationships in

the classroom (pp. 39-40)  States' progress towards reaching their 75 per cent share of the School Resource Standard by 2023 (p. 42)  Unspent money held by non-government schools following the Choice and

Affordability Fund payments they received in 2020 (pp. 42-43)  Commonwealth funding forecasts for schools over the next ten years (pp. 44-45)  The movement of funding dedicated to the Respect Matters program

(pp. 45-47)  Recommendations that have and have not been implemented following the Gonski 2.0 review in 20187 (pp. 47-49)  How the department is managing the recent takeover of the youth portfolio

after the change was implemented on 18 March 2021 (pp. 51-52)  Bilateral national school reform agreements with states and territory governments (pp. 52-55)  Actions the department has taken to understand the impacts COVID-19 has

had on Australian students and how the department intends to spend the $25 million Emerging Priority Fund announced in the October 2020-21 budget (pp. 55-58).

Higher Education, Research and International 2.28 Topics discussed for the Department of Education, Skills and Employment - Higher Education, Research and International included:

 Wage theft in the university sector and the possible impact it has on the quality of learning (pp. 59-60)  The reported drop in student satisfaction regarding university online learning in the Quality Indicators for Learning and Teaching survey

(pp. 60-61)

6 The Hon Alan Tudge MP, Minister for Education and Youth, 'Being our best: Returning Australia

to the top group of education nations', Speech, 11 March 2021.

7 Department of Education and Training, Through Growth to Achievement: The Report of the Review to

Achieve Educational Excellence in Australian Schools, March 2018.

13

 Department strategies to ensure Australia continues to be an attractive country for international students (p. 62)  Funding for Commonwealth supported places (CSPs) in South Australian universities directed to regional students as part of the recent reforms to

higher education in the Job-ready Graduates Package (pp. 62-63)  Student contributions since the Job-ready Graduates Package was legislated in October 2020 (pp. 64-66)  Difficulties for students paying off their HELP debt (p. 68)  Universities trading CSPs with other providers (pp. 68-69)  University enrolment figures for 2021 (pp. 69-70)  Job losses in the university sector due to COVID-19 and what the

government is doing to ensure the jobs return (pp. 70-72)  Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) data showing 86 000 fewer women were studying at university in 2020 than in 2019 (p. 72)  The relationship between student enrolments and the funding provided to

universities as part of the Commonwealth Grant Scheme set out in the Job-ready Graduates Package passed through parliament in October 2020 (pp. 73-74).

Employment 2.29 Topics discussed for the Department of Education, Skills and Employment - Employment included:

 Contract staff used to fill positions at the National Customer Service Line as the demand for advice on government initiatives such as jobactive and wage subsidies for employers increased during COVID-19 (pp. 75-78)

 How the department will accommodate a possible rise in jobactive participants once JobKeeper finishes in late March 2021 (pp. 78-79)  Overall trends in underemployment in Australia (p. 79)  The merits of an Employer Reporting Line established to let the department

know if a job seeker has not met expectations, such as declining a suitable job offer or failing to attend an interview (pp. 80-81)  Feedback from businesses and stakeholders with respect to finding staff and the process that follows an employer complaint to the Employer Reporting

Line (pp. 81-82)  The risk of intimidation or unfair treatment of job seekers if the Employer Reporting Line is abused by employers (pp. 82-83 & 84-85)  A possible power imbalance between job service providers and job seekers

(pp. 83-84 & 94)  How the department audits both job seekers and job service providers to ensure they are meeting their responsibilities (p. 85)  Digital literacy assessments to see if servicing online is appropriate for job

seekers, particularly regarding the Seasonal Worker Program (p. 86)  The impact COVID-19 on the Seasonal Worker Program (pp. 86-87)

14

 Measures the department has put in place to ensure seasonal workers are available over the coming year (p. 88)  Automated payment suspensions for those on JobSeeker if they fail their mutual obligations (pp. 89-90)  The investigation process if a complaint to the Employer Reporting Line is

deemed to have merit (p. 91)  The various roles of the Digital Services Contact Centre (pp. 91-92)  Implications for employers following the implementation of mutual obligations requiring job seekers conduct 20 applications each month

(pp. 92-93)  JobSeeker payment suspensions between 7 December 2020 and 28 February 2021 (p. 95)  Security issues raised by job seekers regarding their job service providers

(p. 96).

Skills and Training 2.30 Topics discussed for the Department of Education, Skills and Employment - Skills and Training included:

 Amount spent on the Supporting Apprentices and Trainees (SAT) measures implemented during the COVID-19 (pp. 97-101)  The effectiveness of the SAT measures to help apprentices and trainees retain their jobs (pp. 102-103)  Attrition rates of apprentices under the Boosting Apprenticeships

Commencements (BAC) wage subsidy scheme (pp. 104-105 & 111-112)  Break down of spending by the government on apprenticeship wage subsidies (pp. 105-107)  Details of the BAC wage subsidy scheme and the effect it has had on the

number of new apprentices since it began in October 2020 (pp. 107-109)  Stakeholder consultation during the design of the BAC (p. 109)  Measures in place to prevent exploitation of the BAC by employers (pp. 110-111)  Operational status and projected launch dates of the ten Industry Training

Hubs (pp. 113-114)  Total money spent on the Industry Training Hubs (p. 115)  Selection criteria for the location of the ten Industry Training Hubs (pp. 116-117)  The relationship between the Industry Training Hubs and the

Commonwealth Scholarships Program for Young Australians (pp. 118-120)  How the geographic boundaries set for both the Industry Training Hubs and the Commonwealth Scholarship Program for Young Australians was set according to ABS figures on youth population numbers (pp. 122-123).

15

National Skills Commission 2.31 Mr Adam Boyton, National Skills Commissioner, did not make an opening statement.

2.32 Topics discussed for the National Skills Commission (NSC) included:

 The process and methodology of the development of a new national Skills Priority List which helps policy makers understand the skill needs of the Australian economy (pp. 124-125)

 Feedback received from states and territories after a draft methodology for developing efficient Vocational Education and Training (VET) prices was provided to DESE in October 2020 (pp. 126-127)

 Women's participation in VET courses and how the NSC is reducing the gender imbalance (p. 127).

Australian Skills Quality Authority 2.33 Ms Saxon Rice, Chief Commissioner and Chief Executive Officer, Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA), did not make an opening statement.

2.34 Topics discussed for ASQA included:

 How ASQA is mitigating the risk of any potential rorting of the BAC (p. 128)  Monitoring the quality of training provided by a Registered Training Organisation (RTO) (pp. 129-130)  Possible relationships between RTO's and employers receiving government

wage subsidies (pp. 130-131).

Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority 2.35 Mr David de Carvalho, Chief Executive Officer of the Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA), did not make an opening statement.

2.36 Topics discussed for ACARA included:

 ACARA's role, along with Education Services Australia, in developing the Respect Matters package for the Australian curriculum website (pp. 131-132)

 ACARA's response to Chanel Contos' petition for more extensive consent education in schools (p. 132)  The relevant expertise in consent and respectful relationships education of members of the health and physical education learning area curriculum

reference group (p. 133)  The relationship between states, territories and independent schools with the Australian curriculum set be ACARA (p. 134)  Public consultation for the proposed Australian curriculum revisions

following the recent review (pp. 134-135).

16

Australian Research Council 2.37 Professor Sue Thomas, Chief Executive Officer of the Australian Research Council (ARC), did not make an opening statement.

2.38 Topics discussed for the ARC included:

 Work the ARC has done on assessing the impact of losing international student revenue on university research (p. 136)  Steps taken to protect Australia's national security interests during internationally collaborative research projects (pp. 136-137)  A campaign signed by over 1000 researchers, asking the Minister for

Education to improve aspects of the ARC's processes (p. 137).

Senator the Hon James McGrath Chair

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Appendix 1

Committee oversight of departments and agencies

Education, Skills and Employment, including Industrial Relations portfolio

Departments and Agencies examined  Attorney-General's Department  Asbestos Safety and Eradication Agency  Australian Building and Construction Commission  Coal Mining Industry (Long Service Leave Funding) Corporation  Comcare  Fair Work Commission  Fair Work Ombudsman  Safe Work Australia  Department of Education, Skills and Employment  Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority  Australian Research Council  Australian Skills Quality Authority  National Skills Commission

Agencies not examined  Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership  Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency

Industry, Science, Energy and Resources, excluding Industry, Science, Energy and Resources and including Small Business portfolio

Departments and Agencies examined  Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources  Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman