The Abbott/Turnbull Government has ripped funding out of apprenticeship programs, skills training and TAFE – more than $1 billion from apprenticeships alone since taking office.
The resulting catastrophic drop in the number of apprentices learning their trade stands as a monument to this government’s profound lack of vision for the future.
There are now 122,000 fewer apprentices than when this government took office.
Unemployment has risen 6.5% to 13.2% in Townsville in the few short years of this government, and youth unemployment in Cairns is up 6.1% since the 2013 election. It now stands at a staggering 25.2%.
The policies of this government has resulted in the slowest wage growth in 18 years and the highest levels of inequality since the Second World War.
The decoupling of wage growth from labour productivity increases has meant that workers’ share of national income is falling. Meanwhile the richest in our society get tax cuts, and Mr Turnbull tells us all there has never been a more exciting time to be an Australian.
The government is taking two policies to the election to try to address the national skills shortage, unemployment and stagnant wage growth.
The first is a massive tax cut for big businesses, which will cost as much as our next fleet of submarines but deliver negligible economic benefits.
The second is the PaTH program, which will pay unemployed people $4 per hour to take the job of someone earning minimum wage, while giving employers a financial incentive to turf them out after 12 weeks.
Australians need a government with a real vision for the future, who won’t stand idly by while they struggle to find enough work and watch as the buying power of their pay packet shrinks year after year.