Apprenticeships to get $1.2b budget boost

Tuesday’s federal budget will include a $1.2 billion package aimed at creating more apprenticeships, Treasurer Josh Frydenberg says.

He has told Channel Nine this tops up the $2.8 billion already invested in skills and this further injection will help create 100,000 apprenticeships.

“Whether you are a baker or butcher, whether you are a sparkie, plumber or carpenter you are getting support from the Morrison Government,” Mr Frydenberg said.


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Finance Minister Mathias Cormann explained the new package will from Monday, and over the next year, pay half the wages of a new apprentice taken on by a business.

“This is something we hope will help boost the number of new apprentices in the economy at a very important time,” he told the Sky News’ Sunday Agenda program.

But shadow treasurer Jim Chalmers said while any support for apprenticeships and trainees is welcome, this new initiative does not make up for the 140,000 fewer apprentices seen over the life of this government.

“It is no long-term vision for training,” Dr Chalmers told ABC television’s Insiders program.

“The government has a lot of form in announcing big numbers, chasing big headlines and then not following through.”

Still, Master Builders Australia CEO Denita Wawn said young people and building and construction businesses will be “big winners” from this new 50 per cent wage subsidy.

“The confidence of building and construction businesses to take on apprentices has been further shaken by the COVID crisis,” she said in a statement.

“This $1.2 billion investment by the government is undoubtedly good news but its effectiveness will be blunted without further stimulus to support and activate demand for building and construction services.”

Mr Frydenberg again indicated that his second budget will include the bringing forward of already legislated tax cuts.

“We believe people should keep more of what they earn,” he said.

“We also believe more people having more money in their pockets right now will help economic activity across the economy. More spending will mean more jobs.”

He said while the savings ratio had been high, that had been a reflection of the health restrictions that had been put in place.

“Once those restrictions are eased and we have seen that happen outside of Victoria, more money will be spent and that savings ratio will come down,” said.

Senator Cormann declined to comment on talk that the budget will include an extension of the low-income tax offset.

“There is always pre-budget speculation, I’m not going to add to the pre-budget speculation,” he said.

© AAP 2020