The state government has prioritised tackling unemployment in its 2015-16 budget, with a range of measures. These include jobs and investment programs, and funding for Local Learning and Employment Networks to continue supporting young people to re-engage with education or work. The importance of vocational education as a pathway to employment was also recognised, through the delivery of the $200m TAFE rescue fund. A broad public transport and infrastructure package was outlined to stimulate job creation, with many of the jobs set to be located in regional and outer-suburban Victoria.
VCOSS welcomes these measures to address the ongoing unemployment crisis in this state.
“The government has emphasised the importance of tackling unemployment in this budget and the broad public transport and infrastructure packages outlined today by the Treasurer will be a stimulus for job creation, with many of the jobs located in regional and outer-suburban Victoria,” VCOSS CEO Emma King said.
“Increased funding for measures outlined in the government’s Back to Work package will assist people at risk of unemployment.
“The funding boost to TAFEs announced today, along with the review of Vocational Education and Training currently underway, will help keep young people engaged in education and create important pathways to employment for Victorians facing disadvantage. It will also provide a boost to local regional economies.
“The renewed $32 million commitment to Local Learning and Employment Networks will boost job prospects for young people in regional Victoria. This is an important platform for expanding future support for young people to stay engaged in jobs and training.”
Initiatives at a glance
- $200m over four years for the Future Industries Fund (including a New Energy Jobs Fund) – a new fund to assist the Victorian economy transition from declining industries to new and growing industries. The specified industries are medical technology and pharmaceuticals, new energy technology, food and fibre processing, transport, defence and construction technology, international education and professional services.
- $10.6m over two years for Melbourne’s North Innovation and Investment Fund –
to help create employment opportunities in communities affected by manufacturing closures.
- $500m over four years for the Regional Jobs and Infrastructure Fund – to help improve job prospects in regional communities.
- $500m over four years for the Premier’s Jobs and Investment Fund – to give business advice and support in developing business cases, building their capability and attracting investment.
- $200m over four years for the TAFE Rescue Fund – to assist TAFEs to build skills required for local jobs and reopen TAFE campuses.
- $32m over four years for Local Learning and Employment Networks – to help tackle youth educational engagement and pathways to employment.. This provides a foundation for further investment in local initiatives to improve training and employment for young people.
- $6.6m over four years to continue the Work and Learning Centres – which target five public housing communities to provide pathways to employment.
- $8m over four years for a Victorian Skills Commissioner – to help improve alignment between training and employment opportunities.
Future policy directions
- VCOSS welcomes the Victorian government’s focus on tackling unemployment and will keep advocating to ensure job seekers facing disadvantage are supported to develop the right skills for a changing labour market, to help them find and keep jobs.
- VCOSS welcomes the budget measures contained to support young people facing disadvantage to stay engaged, or reconnect with, education and work. With current high levels of youth unemployment around Victoria, VCOSS will continue to advocate for further investment in programs that re-engage vulnerable young people in education, training and employment.