Job growth on the cards as National Skills Commissioner bill passes parliament

Australia’s efforts to recover and rebuild the economy following the devastating COVID-19 pandemic and bushfire season has received a boost, with the National Skills Commissioner Bill passing through Parliament.

The National Skills Commissioner Bill was introduced to establish the statutory position of a National Skills Commissioner (the Commissioner), who will be tasked with leading the newly formed Commission and providing advice to Government on matters relating to the Australian labour force.

A key priority for the Commissioner will be to gather information on Australia’s labour force to get a better insight into labour trends, shortages and areas of growth. This information will help the National Skills Commission identify current, emerging and future skill needs for the Australian labour force, which will be presented to Government stakeholders to assist with decision making.

The newly minted position will be held by current interim National Skills Commissioner Mr Adam Boyton, who has previously held roles with the Business Council of Australia and the NSW Skills Board.

As the Commissioner, Mr Boyton will also be tasked with examining the current Vocational Education and Training (VET) sector to advise on its performance and how this performance is affecting the Australia labour market.

Additionally, the Commission will review the pricing model for VET courses to help the Commonwealth analyse their return on investments in the system.

Minister for Employment, Skills, Small and Family Business, Senator the Hon Michaelia Cash said the establishment of the National Skills Commission would be crucial in identifying areas of job growth that were emerging during the country’s economic recovery from COVID-19.

“Establishing the National Skills Commission is central to ensuring that skills shortages don’t become a handbrake on our economic recovery from COVID-19,” said Ms Cash.

“Many Australians will need to reskill or upskill, which is why it’s so important that we have a stronger VET system because the jobs that are created in the recovery period from the COVID-19 pandemic, will not be the same as the jobs that were lost.

“The Commission will help develop a deep understanding of labour market conditions in Australia and the emerging skills needs of Australian businesses so we can kickstart the economy.”

The National Skills Commission is funded by the Federal Government’s $585 million Delivering Skills for Today and Tomorrow skills package, which is also funding the introduction of 80,000 additional apprentices over the next five years.

Source: Department of Employment, Skills, Small and Family Business | National Skills Commission to Help Australia’s Economic Recovery

23 June 2020