The Opposition has successfully introduced transparency into the Albanese Government’s key workforce agency, Jobs and Skills Australia, after working constructively with the Crossbench and convincing the Government to support the bar set by the National Skills Commission.
The Opposition successfully pursued the introduction of key accountability measures into the Jobs and Skills Australia Bill 2022 that were existing and legislated features of the National Skills Commission Act 2020.
The National Skills Commissioner model worked and was developed and delivered following the Steven Joyce Review commissioned by the Coalition Government.
The National Skills Commission was required to provide an annual report to the Minister reflecting Australia’s current, emerging and future workforce skills needs over the calendar year. This was tabled to Parliament and provided important information about the state of the Australian economy. It provided accountability for government and a benchmark for performance on workforce outcomes.
Labor had removed the formal requirement for the Jobs and Skills Australia Director to report to Parliament at all. Our support for the Bill was contingent on it being reintroduced.
Labor tried to water down accountability in the way in which the Minister would be able to task Jobs and Skills Australia. Under Labor’s legislation, directions from the Minister did not even need to be given in writing meaning there would be no formal record of what the Minister tasked this important agency with. This would have been a serious loss of transparency given the Minister was only able to give directions to the National Skills Commissioner by way of legislative instrument.
Labor sought to reduce Parliament’s oversight of the directions provided to Jobs and Skills Australia. Our support for the Bill was contingent on it being reintroduced.
As Australia continues to face challenges across our workforce, we want Jobs and Skills Australia to succeed. To ensure it does that, transparency will be vital.
Thanks to the work of the Opposition, Jobs and Skills Australia will be more transparent and therefore more effective as it spends the hard earned tax dollars of the Australian people.