Just days after it was revealed Trade Minister, Don Farrell, handpicked an unqualified former Labor Senator over an experienced senior woman for a key overseas appointment, Labor have continued to stack the $15 billion taxpayer-funded National Reconstruction Fund (NRF) with their mates.

Today’s four-year appointment of Glenn Thompson, the Assistant National Secretary of the Australian Manufacturing Workers’ Union, to administer the NRF Corporation demonstrates the Albanese Government is handing out taxpayer funded board positions like door prizes at an Australian Labor Party National Conference.

Labor have stacked the National Reconstruction Fund with their mates. Glenn Thompson joins Daniel Walton, the former National Secretary of the Australian Workers’ Union, on a taxpayer-funded gravy train as the fund fails to arrest the rapid deterioration of Australia’s industrial sector.

Of note Glenn Thompson, in his role as Australian Shipbuilding Federation of Unions National Convenor, has talked down the AUKUS agreement and has repeatedly demonstrated scepticism of its merits. This is a real concern given the NRF is effectively Labor’s only industrial policy.

This latest act is another chapter of unacceptable behaviour from the Albanese Government, after Trade Minister Don Farrell appointed a former one-term Labor Senator and personal friend, to the position of Australia’s next senior trade and investment commissioner and Consul-General in San Francisco. Reports suggest the Minister overlooked Kirstyn Thomson, head of the Americas investment desk at Austrade, who had been the preferred candidate for the job after applying when it was advertised last year.

Deputy Leader of the Opposition and Shadow Minister for Industry, Skills and Training Sussan Ley labelled Labor hypocrites over the appointments.

“Australia’s economy is teetering on the brink with collapses in apprentice starts and the largest number of insolvencies reported in a single quarter for almost a decade and all Labor care about is putting more of their mates’ snouts in trough,” the Deputy Leader said.

“Labor have designed the National Reconstruction Fund to be an ambulance at the bottom of the cliff, given its glacial roll out and the alarm bells across Australian industry by the time it actually does something there might not be much left to reconstruct.

“Labor can never credibly talk about ‘jobs for mates’ again, because when it counts they picked middle aged men from the unions over capable and immensely qualified women.”

This comes the same week as the National Centre for Vocational Education Research confirmed over its first year of government Labor have presided over a 37.4 per cent decline in new training starts and a 42.9 per cent decline in commencements for female trainees and apprentices.

It was also revealed this week that business insolvencies in the September quarter surged to their highest level since 2015, according to the latest figures from the Australian Securities and Investments Commission.

ASIC data released this week shows that 2486 businesses went insolvent in the three months to September, up 10 per cent from the previous quarter and 21 per cent higher than the corresponding period last year. It’s the highest number of insolvencies reported in a single quarter since December 2015 when 2499 business collapses were reported. Construction made up close to a third of all insolvencies in the September quarter, with 783 business failures, up 27 per cent from the June quarter.