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Written by James Atcheson

The Budget seeks to protect jobs and make it easier for Australians to find employment and employees.

Extension of the JobTrainer Fund

The Government has announced its intention to provide $506.3 million over two years from 2021-22 to extend the JobTrainer Fund.  This includes an additional $500 million in funding for the National Partnership Agreement on the JobTrainer Fund, to be matched by contributions from the states and territories, to deliver around 163,000 additional low fee and free training places in areas of skills need, including 33,800 additional training places to support aged care skills needs and 10,000 places for digital skills courses.

Eligibility for the Fund will be expanded to include selected employed cohorts that are continuing to be affected by COVID‑19.

Expansion of the Boosting Apprenticeship Commencements wage subsidy

An additional $2.7 billion will be provided over four years from 2020-21 to expand the Boosting Apprenticeship Commencements wage subsidy to further support businesses and Group Training Organisations to take on new apprentices and trainees.

This measure will uncap the number of eligible places and increase the duration of the 50% wage subsidy to 12 months from the date an apprentice or trainee commences with their employer.

From 5 October 2020 to 31 March 2022, businesses of any size can claim the Boosting Apprenticeship Commencements wage subsidy for new apprentices or trainees who commence during this period.

Eligible businesses will be reimbursed up to 50% of an apprentice or trainee's wages of up to $7,000 per quarter for 12 months.

Additional support for job seekers

The Government will provide $258.6 million over four years from 2020-21 to increase participation in the labour market and modify existing unemployment services to further increase support for job seekers.  This package includes:

  • the expansion and extension of the Local Jobs Program;
  • increasing all wage subsidies to $10,000 for eligible participants in jobactive, Transition to Work, and ParentsNext from 1 July 2022;
  • additional funding for the New Enterprise Incentive Scheme;
  • $7.9 million over three years from 2020-21 to incentivise employment services providers to ensure job seekers referred from Online Employment Services before 30 June 2022 are appropriately supported into employment as quickly as possible;
  • $6.2 million over two years from 2020-21 to deliver a combination of up to 26 physical and virtual Jobs Fairs across the country between June 2021 and June 2022;
  • $1.6 million over two years from 2020-21, to amend the Relocation Assistance to Take Up a Job program to provide additional support for job seekers relocating to take up employment, including short term agricultural work under AgMove; and
  • extending flexibility available within mutual obligation requirements enabling job seekers to satisfy these requirements through undertaking study, for an additional six months from 31 December 2021 to 30 June 2022

New employment services model

The Government has announced a new approach to employment services that is digitally driven, tailored and flexible. 

The New Employment Services Model will ensure job seekers move into sustainable work, employers' needs are met, and employment services providers' efforts are focused on those job seekers who need help most.

Stronger support for skills reform

The Government will provide $285.0 million over five years from 2020-21 (and $74.2 million per year ongoing) to provide stronger support for skills reform and ensure governments, employers and students invest in the training that delivers the best student outcomes to strengthen Australia's skills base.

Trades Recognition Australia – Full cost recovery

From 1 September 2021, $4.6 million will be provided over four years to deliver consistent charging arrangements across Trades Recognition Australia activities.

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