A $1 billion one-year National Skills Agreement that will provide additional funding for fee-free TAFE in 2023, while a longer-term agreement that drives sector reform and supports women’s workforce participation is negotiated was one of the definite highlight outcomes of the recent Jobs and Skills Summit held in Canberra last week.

The Government, states and territories also agreed to accelerate the delivery of 465,000 additional fee-free TAFE places, with 180,000 to be delivered next year, and with costs shared with the states and territories on a 50:50 basis.

Federal Member for Macarthur Dr Mike Freelander believes this will greatly assist the growing need for trades and skills in our region.

“I welcome the investment in TAFE as our local TAFE campuses will benefit from this, as will the students of today and tomorrow who wish to pursue a skill or a trade, which are vital to our economy,” Dr Freelander said.

Additionally, there will be an increase to the permanent Migration Program to help ease widespread, critical skills shortages, with visa processing to be accelerated to help resolve the backlog in visa applications.

“I welcome the pragmatic outcomes from the Jobs and Skills Summit, which was a wonderful display of unity from individuals, organisations, and businesses from all around our country”, Dr Freelander said.

“I also greatly welcome the investment in social and crisis housing as this is imperative to assist those individuals and families who greatly need these vital supports.”

Regarding housing, the Albanese Government has committed to investing $575 million in social and affordable housing, which will be done in partnership with other levels of government and social housing providers to ensure much needed housing is delivered sooner.

Further to this, 4,000 new social housing properties will be delivered for those fleeing family and domestic violence, as well as for elderly women on low incomes who are at risk of being homeless.

This expands from the recent commitment by the Albanese Government to provide ten days of paid family and domestic violence leave into the National Employment Standards, which Dr Freelander proudly supported when introduced to Parliament in July this year.

“It is imperative to have a united effort to resolve our jobs and skills issues, as well as the issues facing housing affordability and worker shortages,” Dr Freelander said.

Work continues to be made by the Federal Labor Government and Dr Freelander to deal with cost of living pressures and workforce shortages experienced by Macarthur locals.