$30 billion to boost Australian skills

24 October, 2023

The Federal Government has unveiled the National Skills Agreement (NSA), that is set to mobilise significant financial resources to foster skill development and economic prosperity in Australia. This ambitious initiative is scheduled to come into effect in January 2024.

Federal Minister for Skills and Training, Brendan O’Connor, hailed this agreement as a catalyst for substantial transformation.

He remarked, “This landmark agreement will kickstart real change, with the NSA heralding a new era for training and education, and provides an exciting opportunity for Victorians to equip themselves with the skills to work in high-quality employment for their future.”

The NSA aims to cultivate national collaboration and strategic investments in the Technical and Further Education (TAFE) and Vocational Education and Training (VET) sectors across Victoria, New South Wales, Western Australia, Queensland, and South Australia.

It introduces a novel national stewardship model, which will orchestrate strategic investments in skills development across various industries while catering to the specific skill requirements of regional areas.

The Federal Government has committed to investing $12.6 billion in the VET sector, accompanied by an additional $2.4 billion in flexible funding to bolster the skills sectors of different states and territories.

This financial support will be instrumental in enhancing skill development in critical and emerging industries like the resources sector.

Furthermore, an allocation of $1.3 billion in Commonwealth funding has been earmarked for implementing essential reforms to fortify the TAFE and VET sectors. This includes the establishment of nationally networked TAFE centres of excellence and the reinforcement of collaboration between TAFEs, universities, and industry.

In the event that states and territories fully tap into the Commonwealth funding available under the NSA, the collective governmental investment is projected to exceed $30 billion.

Under the NSA, the Federal Government is committed to infusing substantial investments into the VET sector of each state. Victoria will receive $3.15 billion, New South Wales $3.81 billion, Western Australia $1.34 billion, Queensland $2.54 billion, and South Australia will benefit from approximately $2.2 billion in funding. The agreement underscores the importance of green energy and the transition to a net-zero economy, an aspect of particular relevance to the contemporary mining industry.