Budget 2018: AU$250m for Skilling Australians Fund

The government has allocated AU$250 million for its Skilling Australians Fund, with the Budget also setting aside almost AU$200 million in helping 'mature-age' citizens adapt their skills for the digital economy.

The Australian government is pouring more funding into skilling up its workforce, with AU$250 million being set aside in the Skilling Australians Fund under the 2018-19 Budget, as well as allocating funding for mature age workers.

"We will invest more in our people, providing an additional AU$250 million for the Skilling Australians Fund to deliver business with the people and skills they need to grow their business," Australian Treasurer Scott Morrison said during his Budget speech on Tuesday night.

The funding will go towards projects that support apprenticeships and traineeships, with the government saying it has revised its implementation arrangements to align with the new levy arrangements.

"State and territory governments will be offered a new agreement which is estimated to provide AU$1.2 billion over the four years to 30 June 2022. This is based on current SAF levy revenue estimates, plus total additional funding of AU$50 million per year over the four years from 2018-19, on a per capita basis, to provide certainty to the states and territories and support apprentices and trainees," the Budget documents explained.

"An additional AU$50 million is available in 2017-18, on a per capita basis, to those states and territories that sign on to participate in the fund on or before 7 June 2018."

This funding has already been provisioned by the government, however.

"The government will back the choices of older Australians who choose to stay in work. This will be done by supporting them to transition their skills, providing wage subsidies of up to AU$10,000 for employers who take them on," Morrison added in his speech.

"We will expand the Entrepreneurship Facilitators program, and create a new Skills and Training Incentive to provide mature age workers with the opportunity to update their skills. We will help Australians plan for a longer and healthier life with new online skills."

Under More Choices for a Longer Life: Jobs and skills for mature age Australians, the government will be setting aside AU$189.7 million in total to support mature-age citizens in adapting to the digital economy.

The finding includes AU$136.4 million over four years for "targeted training to help mature age job seekers aged 45 years and over and who are registered with a jobactive provider to enhance employability, develop digital skills, and identify opportunities in local labour markets"; AU$19.3 million over three years for the reskilling or upskilling of workers aged 45 to 70, with each person able to receive up to AU$2,000; and AU$17.7 million over four years for Inclusive Entrepreneurship Facilitators to focus on mature-age citizens to provide business mentoring and opportunities.

The Department of Jobs and Small Business will get AU$18 million in 2018-19, AU$17.1 million in 2019-20, AU$7.1 million in 2020-21, and AU$4.9 million in 2021-22, as well as related capital from the department in 2018-19 of AU$3.3 million.

Under More Choices for a Longer Life, the government will additionally provide AU$17.4 million over four years to establish the Skills checkpoint for older workers program, which will support employees aged between 45 and 70 to remain in the workforce.

The Department of Education and Training will receive AU$4.4 million in 2018-19, AU$4.3 million in 2019-20, AU$4.3 million in 2020-21, and AU$4.4 million in 2021-22.

As part of the 2018-19 Budget, the government also said it would expend AU$12.1 million over three years for an online employment services trial.

The program will "trial digital delivery of employment services for up to 10k job-ready participants".

Budget 2018 Coverage