It has been revealed that the Albanese Government is secretly reaping hundreds of millions of dollars from tens of thousands of Australian businesses through a compulsory tax, the ‘Skilling Australians Fund’ levy, which should be being allocated to specific skills projects with state and territory governments but is instead being banked to Labor’s Budget bottom line.

The Skilling Australians Fund was established as an ongoing arrangement by the Coalition Government in 2017 to ensure the businesses that benefit from employing migrants also contribute to skilling Australians. It established a direct link between the levy and skills projects that have benefitted hundreds of thousands of Australians to gain in-demand skills.

If a business wants to bring in a skilled migrant they are required to pay up to between $3000 and $5000 dollars per worker once off or between $1200 and $1800 yearly through the levy.  This funding is then allocated to specific skills projects to support Australians to gain training for in-demand jobs.

The Fund was managed through the National Partnership on the Skilling Australians Fund between the Commonwealth and states and territories which ran from 1 July 2018 to 30 June 2022 when it lapsed. Over a year after the agreement concluding a new agreement has not been reached.

The Albanese Government has confirmed it is still collecting money through the levy and is banking the money in to consolidated revenue.

Deputy Leader of the Opposition, Shadow Minister for Skills and Training and Shadow Minister for Small and Family Business, Sussan Ley said the revelations confirm thousands of hard-working Australian business owners are being ripped off by Anthony Albanese in the middle of a cost-of-living crisis.

“Australian business owners will be rightly outraged to know that Anthony Albanese is using a levy they pay in good faith to prop up Labor’s budget bottom line – this money is supposed to be guaranteed to go towards skilling Australians not paying for Labor’s pet projects,” the Deputy Leader said.

“The Coalition will always stand for skilling Australians, today businesses see yet again that when Labor can’t manage money, they come after yours – this is very sneaky stuff from Anthony Albanese.”

This revelation comes as the Albanese Government’s recently released review: A Migration System for Australia’s Future, refuted complaints from small businesses about the costs of the levy, arguing the levy could be “justifiably higher”.

According to official Government figures the levy raised over $73 million in the final quarter of 2022 alone and over $250 million over 2022.