Sep 23, 2004

Howard admits toolboxes won’t fix skills crisis


MEDIA RELEASE: Anthony Albanese – 23 September 2004

Today on radio Mr Howard admitted that his toolbox announcement yesterday will do nothing to address the biggest economic challenge confronting Australia – the acute shortage of skilled workers.

When questioned about his $91 million toolbox commitment, Mr Howard responded:

“I don’t hold this out as being the answer to the skills shortage…”

Source: Brisbane 4BC, 9/23/04

It certainly isn’t the answer. Mr Howard’s toolboxes are nothing more than a gimmick.

This commitment also highlights Mr Howard ignorance. Apprentices currently receive a tool allowance worth up to $22 a week as part of their award. As a result of Mr Howard’s announcement yesterday, apprentices will potentially lose this allowance and be left financially worse off.

Current skills shortages could cost the Australian economy $9 billion over the next 10 years.

Labor has a plan. Howard has a gimmick.