Have locals missed out job opportunities coming out of the pandemic due to the Prime Minister’s disregard of the nation’s chronic skills crisis?

Definitely, says Federal Member for Macarthur, Dr Mike Freelander, pointing out that there are now a whopping 85,000 fewer apprentices and trainees in Australia than there were when this Federal Government came to power.

In recent months, Macarthur has seen a considerable loss of apprentices and trainees, with 308 fewer apprentices in training than when the Coalition first came into office. In New South Wales, there has been a reduction of 22 590 apprenticeships.

Dr Freelander connects this to the Liberals and Nationals, who have cut more than $3 billion from vocational education and training since being elected.

“Eight years of neglect by the Liberals and Nationals is one of the biggest risks to our future development,” Dr Freelander said.

“As a country we need skilled workers in both existing and emerging industries. That means we need to have more skilled jobs and we need to make sure that we are doing the training to fill these highly skilled jobs.”

This comes as the National Skills Commission confirms more than half of businesses looking for new staff reported they had difficulty finding people with the necessary skills last month.

Dr Freelander also calls on PM Scott Morrison to take some weight off the shoulders of state governments, who he believes are doing all they can without a leader who’s prepared to effectively amend these issues.

“Only now is the Morrison-Joyce Government finally scrambling to play catch up in bridging the skills gap – but it’s not that easy and not that quick a fix,” Dr Freelander said.

“Our state governments are doing what they can, but they deserve national leadership and a partner that’s pulling its’ weight on this important issue.”

– Cassidy Pearce

Photo: Dr Mike Freelander MP on a visit to the Sevaan Group