Cash’s $60M apprentice cash-splash ‘disgraceful, flawed policy’ that only benefits Hanson

Nicholas McCallum

MEDIA RELEASE: Friday, November 2, 2018

The Morrison Government is shamefully pushing on with its $60 million apprentice cash-splash to bosses in a pathetic attempt to buy votes from far-right crossbench senators.

Pauline Hanson’s One Nation Party is boasting about how it got this weak government to put $60 million into this deeply flawed policy that forks over taxpayers’ money to the employers who have been doing nothing to help apprentices.

Electrical Trades Union National Secretary Allen Hicks condemned Skills Minister Michaelia Cash‘s policy as a handout to Hanson, and one that rewards the very businesses that have neglected our training system by not taking on apprentices for three years or more. 

“This flawed policy from Michaelia Cash is disgraceful and hands over taxpayer money to businesses that have done nothing to help train and skill young Australians,” Mr Hicks said.

“Instead of developing real solutions with state governments for Australia’s TAFEs and training sector, the desperate Minister Cash is allowing Hanson to write government policy and the cheques to fund it. 

Mr Hicks added it was shameful the Morrison Government wants to reward employers who have not taken on an apprentice for three years with nearly $37,000 each in taxpayer subsidies.

“This is rewarding employers with handouts for not investing in our apprentice training. It’s bad, backwards policy that does nothing to prepare Australia’s training sector for the future.

“The Liberal Party thinks they are securing Hanson’s vote with this policy on the run, but it’s only winning One Nation more voters.

ETU National Apprentice Officer Mark Burgess questioned why Cash thought directly paying employers $60 million to take on 1630 apprentices – $36,810 per apprentice – was a good use of money after the Abbott-Turnbull-Morrison Government had cut more than $3 billion from TAFEs and let student numbers drop by 140,000.

“There’s no denying the Liberals have neglected and abandoned Australian apprentices, but this is an extraordinary cost for such a small result,” Mr Burgess said.

“And because apprentices at Group Training Organisations (GTOs) are excluded, Cash’s policy creates a financial incentive for employers to hand back host apprentices and rehire them with a $37,000 cash-splash. It will merely churn apprentices and create very few new opportunities.”

Mr Burgess said because the subsidies end before the apprentices’ training, there is no guarantee employers will keep them on when government subsidies run out.

“Cash wants to reward the employers who’ve neglected apprentices for years. Who’s to say these bosses won’t dump these young people when Cash’s cash-splash dries up?” he said. 

“It’s not creating new opportunities for young people. It’s moving apprentice numbers around and rewarding businesses that have not invested in apprentice training. And taxpayers foot the bill for this policy on the run.”

Media enquiries: ETU National Communications Coordinator – Nicholas McCallum

0419 499 886, [email protected]

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