PM outlines plan to get economy ‘out of ICU’
Tradies and skilled workers will lead Australia out of the COVID-19 economic crisis under a plan to overhaul the vocational education system by making the most useful training courses cheaper.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison will use a National Press Club speech today to chart a course to get Australia's economy "out of ICU", placing TAFE and industrial relations reform at the centre of his JobMaker plan.
"We need Australians better trained for the jobs businesses are looking to create," he is expected to say.
Mr Morrison will flag major changes to the "fundamentally flawed" TAFE system, in a bid to ensure the $1.5 billion in federal funding handed to states is effectively help people find employment.
"For prospective students, the large number of choices that they face for qualifications can be bewildering. Compounded by a lack of visibility over the quality of training providers and the employment outcomes for those courses," he will say.
With debt soaring about 30 per cent of GDP, Mr Morrison will set out five key principles for rebooting the economy including helping businesses "go faster".
"At some point you've got to get your economy out of ICU," he will argue.
"You've got to get it off the medication before it becomes too accustomed to it.
"We must enable our businesses to earn our way out of this crisis."
Mr Morrison will seek to end the discrepancy in how TAFE and VET courses are subsidised, relying on co-operation between states to achieve the ambitious reform.
"In 2019, a student undertaking Certificate III in Blinds, Awning, Security Screens received a subsidy of $3726 in Queensland, $9630 in NSW and no subsidy in Victoria unless the qualification is taken as an apprenticeship," he will say.
"Subsidies for a Diploma of Nursing in 2017 varied between $19963 in Western Australia and $8218 in Queensland.
"And all of this is before the question surrounding the quality of the training is addressed."
Mr Morrison will steer Australia away from a "downward spiral of protectionism" and instead look to export "highly competitive" innovative services and advanced manufacturing.
"We will continue to be part of global supply chains that can deliver the prosperity we rely on to create jobs, support incomes and build our businesses," he will say.
Mr Morrison will argue Australia is in "unchartered territory" as it attempts to return to a more normal life, while ensuring the community's health is protected.
"There will be inconsistencies and frustrations," he will say.
"There will be trial and there will be error."
The Prime Minister will also warn unemployment and underemployment will "rise before it falls".
"Debt and deficits will rise sharply, as costs rise and revenues fall," he will say.
"This will test our confidence and resolve.
"That is why the reopening of our economy must be followed by a concerted effort to create momentum and rebuild confidence."
The government will focus on leveraging and building Australia's existing "strengths".
"An educated and highly-skilled workforce that supports not just a thriving and innovative services sector, but a modern and competitive advanced manufacturing sector," Mr Morrison will say.
"Resources and agricultural sectors that can both fuel and feed large global populations, including our own and support vibrant rural and regional communities.
"A financial system that has proved to be one of the most stable and resilient in the world.
"World leading scientists, medical specialists, researchers and technologists.
"An emerging space sector, and so much more."
Mr Morrison, who is due to make the speech at 12.30pm today, will acknowledge that the challenge is "enormous".
Originally published as PM outlines plan to get economy 'out of ICU'