Delivered by THE HONOURABLE WAYNE SWAN MP, DEPUTY PRIME MINISTER AND TREASURER OF THE COMMONWEALTH OF AUSTRALIA.
After listening to the budget speech, reading news and online articles, and analysing the opportunities for workforce development and planning, the following insights are provided from this perspective by Wendy Perry, Head Workforce Planner, Workforce BluePrint.
The workforce focussed features and opportunities in the budget include:
- $714 million to help companies compete, on top of the $3.7 billion in small business tax breaks – Offsetting a current year tax loss of up to $1 million against tax paid in previous years; a refund of up to $300,000.
- Funding the first stage of a National Disability Insurance Scheme – $1 billion will be provided over 4 years to roll out the first stage of an NDIS, which is expected to cover 10,000 people from 2013?14 and 20,000 people from 2014?15.
- Investing in dental services – $515 million in funding to address immediate dental care needs; $346 million over three years will target public dental waiting lists; $78 million to help dentists relocate to regional, rural and remote areas; $81 million to boost training for graduate dentists and therapists; and $10.5 million to promote better oral health.
- Strengthening the aged care system – $3.7 billion package to address pressing areas of need, and lays the foundations for future reform; $660 million over five years for incentives to invest in quality services for those who do need to enter residential care; and $1.2 billion over five years to build a better trained and better paid aged care workforce.
- Investments across the health system and across the country – 76 new health infrastructure projects to upgrade regional hospitals and support training where doctors are needed most, costing $475 million; $5 billion from the Health and Hospitals Fund; $50 million over four years to fund a phased expansion of the National Bowel Cancer Screening Program; and national e?Health agenda $234 million.
- Removing barriers to work and lifting skills boosts productivity and creates wealth – $1.75 billion National Partnership on Skills Reform; another $101 million to support the Government’s skills agenda; $61 million to improve older workers training and employment services; additional $225 million for the Jobs, Education and Training Child Care Fee Assistance program; $1.5 billion over 5 years on a new Remote Jobs and Community program that will provide new employment services for remote Australia; $54 million to encourage maths and science studies at school and university; and $38.8 billion in higher education, with extra support for students from poorer backgrounds.
- Investing in infrastructure and clean energy – National Broadband Network and $36 billion Nation Building programs for road, rail and port networks.
Workforce development and planning gaps and issues to be addressed include:
- Small business support
- Disability service sector growth
- Dental and allied health workforce expansion
- Aged care including home and community care workforce attraction and training
- Health workforce development including e-health
- Skills reform
- Retaining older workers
- Participation of parents
- Remote worker engagement
- Maths and science based skills development
- Higher education support
- Major infrastructure projects workforce planning
- Digital literacy skills development
- Seasonal labour strategies and overseas sources of workers
For information on funding, grants, reductions, specific Vocational Education and Training (VET), employment, skills and workforce development programs go to:
Education, Employment and Workplace Relations: Economic Potential of Senior Australians — employment assistance, Employment Service Arrangements, Jobs, Education and Training Child Care Fee Assistance Program, Mature Age Participation — job seeker assistance, Remote Jobs and Communities Program, Schools — Teach Remote, and Seasonal Labour Mobility Program with Pacific Island Countries and East Timor.
Industry, Innovation, Science, Research and Tertiary Education: Australian Apprenticeships, Australian Skills Centres of Excellence, ASQA, Higher Education, More Help for Mature Age Workers, Adult and Community Education for Senior Australians (60+ years), International Education, Maths and Science, Standing Council on Tertiary Education, Skills and Employment (SCOTESE), MySkills website, National Skills Reform, National Workforce Development Fund (additional $35 million over four years), Small Business Advisory Services, VET FEE-HELP Assistance Scheme Redesign, and Workforce Innovation Program.
Funding has been redirected or moved into priority areas from a number of existing programs. This will mean that the Vocational Education and Training (VET) and Employment Services sectors including Australian Apprenticeship Centres, Disability Employment Services, Group Training Companies, Job Services Australia providers, Higher Education providers, Industry or Peak Bodies and Registered Training Organisations, with government funding, will need to carefully consider their workforce development and planning needs to position for the future.