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News News WA unions welcome Federal Budget investment in training and local content – will the Barnett Govt follow suit?

WA unions have welcomed the increased investment in training outlined in the federal budget. In particular, investment in skilled apprenticeships and measures to improve apprenticeship completion rates will have a positive effect in WA. Given the demand for skilled tradespeople in WA, initiatives that ensure WA workers are properly trained and in the best possible position to take advantage of the resource boom are welcome developments.

UnionsWA also welcomes an acknowledgement that local content from resource projects needs to improve with the announcement of $34 million to help Australian manufacturers win more from big resource projects. Let's hope the Barnett Government follows suit and acknowledges that concrete measures are required if we are going to get better outcomes for local business.

Relief to low income earners through the Low Income Tax Offset will help to ease the burden on low income households resulting from WA’s two-speed economy. At the same time unions would caution that this should not be taken as an excuse to short-change low paid workers on the minimum wage increases this year – both in WA and nationally.

While there is much in the budget that will have significant benefits for working Australians, unions have concerns over the expansion of the public sector efficiency dividend and have warned that the resulting reduction in public sector funding will impact on service provision.

Unions have also re-stated their position that skilled migration, particularly Enterprise Migration Agreements, must be subjected to stringent labour market testing, and must not be allowed to undermine the wages and conditions of Australian workers.

A commitment to properly funding mental health programs has been neglected by successive governments. The injection of significant funds by Labor in this area is very welcome.


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