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Federal Budget May 2023-24: Jobs & Education

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This Budget is heavily focused toward funding initiatives for Jobs and Education. Funding to support jobs include $54.3 million towards supporting the Australian Apprenticeship Support Network, $27.4 million towards improving the safety and fairness of workplaces, and $26.3 million toward boosting the employment of young Australians in the care economy.  Key initiatives for education include $105.9 million towards the Education portfolio’s delivery of critical functions, $37 million toward educational outcomes for the First Nations peoples and $17.7 million for the Higher Education Disability Support Program.

Education 

Key measures in the Education portfolio

  • The Government will provide $105.9 million over 4 years from 2023–24 (including $57.9 million in capital funding) to strengthen the Education portfolio’s capability to deliver critical functions, including:
    • $91.7 million over 4 years to transform program administration for schools and higher education providers by developing an improved information and communications technology platform; and
    • $14.2 million in 2023–24 to support the Department of Education’s critical business and policy functions.
  • The Government is also providing $35 million over 4 years from 2022–23 to attract more people to the teaching profession and retain more teachers in the workforce, forming part of the $328 million National Teacher Workforce Action Plan. The Government has broadened the cohorts eligible to mid-career professionals, people from diverse backgrounds and other underrepresented communities.
  • The Government will achieve savings of $53.1 million over 5 years from 2022–23 across the Education portfolio, including:
    • $36.9 million over 5 years from the Strategic University Reform Fund and the Regional Research Collaboration Program to optimise the Tertiary Collection of Student Information; and
    • $11.3 million over 4 years from uncommitted funding in the National School Reform Fund and the Quality Outcomes Program.

First Nations People

  • The Government will also continue to support First Nations peoples to achieve better educational outcomes consistent with the National Agreement on Closing the Gap, with funding including:
    • $32.8 million over two years from 2023–24 for the Clontarf Foundation to extend its existing program for the 2024 school year to support school engagement for at-risk First Nations young men; and
    • savings of $4.2 million over 4 years from 2022–23 from the Building Boarding Schools on Country Program, totalling $70.8 million in investment to construct a new boarding school, Indigenous Education Research Centre, and upgrade the existing Yiramalay Studio School.

Higher education student support programs

  • The Government will provide additional funding of $18.7 million over 4 years from 2023–24 to expand higher education student support programs, including $17.7 for the Higher Education Disability Support Program.

Women in STEM Cadetships and Advanced Apprenticeships

  • The Government is also extending the Women in STEM Cadetships and Advanced Apprenticeships Program for two years to 30 June 2027.

Employment and workplace relations

Australian Apprenticeship Support Network

  • The Government will provide additional funding of $54.3 million over 5 years from 2022–23 to introduce a new non-financial support model for Education portfolio’s from 1 July 2024, to redesign and refocus key support services delivered by the Australian Apprenticeship Support Network as to increase both apprenticeship completion rates and apprentice diversity.

Safety and fairness of workplaces

  • The Government will also provide $27.4 million over 4 years from 2023–24  to improve the safety and fairness of workplaces, and continue detailed consultation with key industries, with funding including:
    • $20 million over two years to increase to the Productivity, Education and Training Fund, to support worker and employer representatives with workplace reforms and implementing the Government’s Workplace Relations agenda;
    • $4.4 million over 4 years to establish the National Construction Industry Forum to provide advice on workplace relations, industry culture, skills and training, safety, gender equality and productivity for the construction industry;
    • $2.0 million over two years to develop a training package on workplace psychosocial hazards, provided to organisations that train health and safety representatives; and
    • $0.8 million to conduct a review of modern awards in the context of new gender equality and job security objects and the updated modern awards and minimum wages objectives in the Fair Work Act 2009.

Employment services for young Australians in the care economy

  • The Government will provide $26.3 million over 5 years from 2022–23 to boost employment services for young Australians in the care economy, continue pre-employment services for incarcerated First Nations people, trial a regional employment service approach and support workers and communities through enhancements to the Local Jobs Program.

Prevention of silicosis

  • The Government will provide $10 million over 4 years from 2023–24 to address the rise of silicosis in workers and develop a national strategy for the prevention of silicosis, with funding including:
    • $4.7 million over 4 years to establish a dedicated occupational lung disease team to investigate reforms for an improved national framework for such diseases; and
    • $4.2 million over 4 years to extend the Asbestos Safety and Eradication Agency’s remit to prevent silicosis and broaden the functions of the Asbestos Safety and Eradication Council.

Australian Skills Guarantee

  • The Government will provide $8.6 million over 4 years from 2023–24 to implement the Australian Skills Guarantee, ensuring one in 10 workers on major Australian Government-funded projects is an apprentice, trainee or paid cadet, applying from 1 July 2024 for projects with contracts valued at $10 million or more in the construction and information and communications technology sectors, and including sub-targets for women.

Long-term skills funding agreement

  • The Government will provide $5.5 million in 2023–24 to continue supporting negotiations on a long-term skills funding agreement with the states and territories, and subject to the outcome of these negotiations, $3.7 billion is retained in the Contingency Reserve for a 5-year National Skills Agreement to commence 1 January 2024.

National Careers Institute

  • The Government will provide additional funding of $5.1 million in 2023–24 to continue functions of the National Careers Institute and to evaluate its role in supporting Australians to access careers information, ensuring the Your Career website is based on latest labour market data and the continued delivery of the School Leavers Information Kit.

Supporting women

  • The Government is also granting funding of $5.0 million over 3 years from 2024-25 to appropriate organisations to support women in historically male dominated trade apprenticeships, including by providing education, advice or support to increase culturally safe and inclusive workplaces, reduce barriers to women's participation, and support the attraction and retention of women.

Commonwealth foundation skills program

  • The Government will introduce a redesigned Commonwealth foundation skills program to improve access to training for all Australians seeking to develop their language, literacy, numeracy and digital skills from 1 July 2024. The program will be offered to people beyond registered job seekers, and will be delivered across national and local levels to improve access. There is a specific focus on First Nations people, with whole of community projects delivered in partnership with TAFEs and other registered training and community education organisations. The Government is also providing $3.5 million over two years from 2022-23 to extend the Foundation Skills for Your Future Remote Community Pilots by 12 months to align with the commencement of this redesigned program.

Workplace relations system

  • The Government is continuing to consult stakeholders on closing loopholes in the workplace relations system, including the Same Job, Same Pay principle, the regulation of employee-like forms of work, and legislating a fair, objective definition of casual employment. The Government will also engage with stakeholders to explore the design and implementation of a national labour hire licensing scheme in Australia.

Parents Next program

  • The Government will also abolish the Parents Next program from 1 July 2024 and develop a replacement voluntary program.
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