- Minister for Employment, Skills, Small and Family Business
Subject/s: VET Sector Reform, Constitutional Recognition for Indigenous Australians and Amal Clooney
MINISTER CASH: Fantastic to be here today in Adelaide, in particular since the Parliament last met we passed tax cuts for Australians. This week, in excess of ten million Australians will start receiving the tax cuts we delivered for them. We took our policy of tax relief for Australians to the Federal Election and the Australian people endorsed our policy. We took it to the Parliament, in the very first week back and I’m absolutely delighted, with assistance from the cross bench, that we were able to deliver tax relief for Australians. I’m pleased to be in Adelaide today, talking jobs and skills.
We have made a commitment to the Australian people that we will continue to put in place the right economic framework and the right policies, so that the economy and employers out there can continue to create jobs. Of course, we need to ensure that Australians and particularly young Australians have the skills that employers need. If our economy is going to prosper going forward we need to ensure our country has the best vocational education training system. That is why we are so focused as a Government on improving the quality in the sector. We have a great vocational education training system but there is more that we can do. As Minister, I will work to ensure that Australians see vocational education as a first choice. Whether it’s a young person leaving school, whether you’re an employer or an employee – this is a first choice for people wanting to upskill and reskill. That is why I am here in South Australia, speaking with my counterpart David Pisoni about job creation, ensuring our economy is skilling up Australians so that they have the right skills for the jobs of today and tomorrow.
JOURNALIST: These vocation jobs you’re talking about, will they address the regional skills shortage as well?
MINISTER CASH: Absolutely. One of the policies that we announced earlier this year was a wage subsidy for rural and regional areas for apprentices, particularly targeting small and family businesses. The policy was so successful that on the 1st of July we actually doubled the number of apprenticeships available and made a further investment. Rural and regional Australia - they have been doing it tough. As a Government we need to be making sure that small and family businesses in those regional economics are able to take on an apprentice and grow their business. The wage subsidy is a great way of doing that, 75% of the apprenticeships award wage subsidy in the first year, 50% in the second year, 25% in the third year. As a Government we recognise in Australia, one size does not fit all and we have to put in place the right policies that respond to the differing issues that Australians face across Australia.
JOURNALIST: Will this be a bit of a push to get women in these jobs as well?
MINISTER CASH: I’m actually really pleased, since we’ve come into office we have a record number of women in employment. We have a record number of people in employment in Australia, but in particular we have a record number of females participating in the workforce. There is always more we can do though, I’m really pleased when I work with companies that are putting in place strategies to ensure that, young women in particular know, that an apprenticeship is the way to go. Certainly yes, all of our policies are designed to increase the employing capacity of small and family businesses but also to work with people, so that young girls out there know an apprenticeship it is a fantastic career opportunity.
JOURNALIST: Just on another matter, what is your view on Indigenous Constitutional recognition?
MINISTER CASH: The Prime Minister - and Minister Wyatt, who gave an outstanding address yesterday to the National Press Club. This is something as a Government, we want to work with the people of Australia to bring to the Parliament something we can all agree with. Minister Wyatt has put together a working group, and he will now go out and talk to people, that is all Australians. I’d like to see this process gone through, the Prime Minister has made it very, very clear that we want to bring something to Parliament all Australians can agree on and bring everybody with us.
JOURNALIST: There has already been comments made by some Coalition MPs voicing some concerns. Are you worried at all that those internal issues could derail the process?
MINISTER CASH: We’ve just won the election and we’ve delivered in the first week back in Parliament on our major election commitment and that is long term tax relief for Australians. I’m really proud to be a part of a Party that does allow our members to voice their issues and concerns. I’m confident that the Prime Minister and Minister Wyatt are putting in place the right process and it will allow them to voice any concerns that they may have and ultimately, lead us to a consensus position.
MINISTER CASH: This is about constitutional recognition. I’m happy with the process that is going to play out and I think it is particularly important that under the first Indigenous person who is the Minister for Indigenous Affairs and who brings a unique understanding to this role and the issues faced by Indigenous people. We need to work through the process and bring people with us. This is about getting it right and getting a consensus.
MINISTER CASH: Absolutely, Amal Clooney is entitled to her view but ultimately no-one is above the law as the Prime Minister and the Attorney-General has said. We as a Government have announced an inquiry in relation to what occurred. At this time it is appropriate to let the inquiry to take place and let the Prime Minister and the Attorney General be informed about the results of that inquiry.
JOURNALIST: Are Australia’s actions against journalists being used as a new precedent not a concern?
MINISTER CASH: Again, we have announced an inquiry into what occurred and it appropriate to let the inquiry to take place. The Attorney-General is the relevant Minister and have him be presented with the outcome of that inquiry. Amal Clooney, as any other person is entitled to their view. The Prime Minister made it very clear no-one is above the law, in particular when it comes to national security. The Prime Minister and the Attorney-General have announced the inquiry into what occurred and it is important to let it take place. Let them be presented with findings of that inquiry.