The Morrison Government’s 2021-22 Budget is securing Australia’s recovery through protecting jobs today and making it easier for Australians to get a job or hire an employee tomorrow, setting up Australia’s workforce for the coming decades.

Minister for Employment, Workforce, Skills, Small and Family Business, Stuart Robert, said that with employment reaching pre-pandemic levels, this Budget will continue driving jobs growth as part of the next phase of the Government’s Economic Recovery Plan.

‘We are going to cement our economic recovery and secure our future prosperity through developing our greatest resource, the Australian people, and keeping Australians working,’ Minister Robert said.

‘This Budget is all about building the workforce Australia needs today and tomorrow through putting in place programs to upskill Australians so they can achieve their aspirations and realise their potential as well as getting government to work for business—not the other way around.’

Protecting jobs today

The Government is boosting job security by increasing current wage subsidies available through jobactive, Transition to Work and ParentsNext to all businesses to $10,000 from 1 July 2021. This includes subsidies for young people, parents and the long-term unemployed. From July 2022, all wage subsidies will also be more flexible to meet employer needs. 

The Government is also expanding the $1 billion JobTrainer Fund, to continue the delivery of low fee or free training places in areas of skills need. JobTrainer will help ensure Australians can access critical skills and will include 10,000 additional digital skills training places and 33,800 additional training places in the aged care sector. The Government will provide an additional $500 million in funding, to be matched by state and territory governments.

As part of our plan for Australia’s future, the Government is extending the highly successful Boosting Apprenticeship Commencements (BAC) wage subsidy for a further six months to support new apprentices and trainees who commence by 31 March 2022. This additional $1.5 billion investment will support the employment of newly commencing apprentices and trainees, assisting school leavers and job seekers during the peak hiring period for key industries. The subsidy will be paid to employers for a full 12 months from commencement. The BAC extension will help support women by delivering 5,000 additional gateway services and guaranteeing in-training support services for women commencing in a non-traditional trade occupations.

Job seekers wanting to start up their own businesses will have greater support and flexibility, with up to 12,000 places now on offer as part of New Business Assistance with the New Enterprise Incentive Scheme. The Government will invest an extra $129.8 million into the program.

Supporting Small and Family Businesses to help drive our economic recovery

In securing Australia’s recovery, the Government will continue to support small and family businesses—the backbone of our economy.

The Government will back small business with a simple, fast and cheap way to pause or modify Australian Taxation Office (ATO) debt recovery action in relation to a debt that is currently under review by the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT). These changes will provide small business with the confidence and peace of mind that they will be able to pause any ATO debt recovery actions until their case is decided by the independent umpire.

Small businesses will also benefit from a further $45.4 million in tailored programs over the forward estimates including:

  • $12.7 million allocated in 2021-22 to support an additional 10,000 small businesses to harness digital technologies and improve their digital capability as part of the Digital Solutions – Australian Small Business Advisory Services program helping them to access expert, independent and tailored advice to help them grow their business and create new jobs.
  • $8.0 million for a two year campaign to encourage people to support their local small and family-owned businesses as they recover from the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic
  • $0.9 million over four years from 2021-22 to support small business owners to take proactive, preventative and early steps to improve their mental wellbeing through the Ahead for Business program.

The Government has the backs of small business, investing $16.0 million over four years to support the ongoing delivery of the Payment Times Reporting Scheme, ensuring those working with larger companies on government contracts get paid on time.

The Government will also increase funding to the Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman through an injection of $1.5 million to help small businesses identify and access support for dispute resolutions.

In recognition of many small and family businesses operating as franchises, the Government will spend $4.3 million over four years to introduce a Franchise Disclosure Registry to increase transparency and restore confidence in the sector.

Connecting Australians to jobs

The Morrison Government will deliver the biggest transformational reform of employment services in over 20 years, to better support Australians get into a job.

The Government will deliver a new employment services model, replacing job active from July 2022. This reform will modernise how government connects job seekers with employment, placing job seekers in the driver’s seat of their journey from welfare into work with digital and tailored assistance, and safeguards in place to ensure no one is left behind.

As part of the reform, the Government is investing $481.2 million in support for vulnerable and disadvantaged young people. The existing Transition to Work service will expand to support an average caseload of around 40,000 young people, providing them with tailored support to help them transition into work or education, including apprenticeships or traineeships.

The Morrison Government’s Local Jobs program will be significantly expanded at a cost of $213.5 million over four years. This will almost double the number of regions in the program, which helps coordinate tailored employment and training solutions for local job seekers to meet employer demand.

The Morrison Government will invest $30.9 million to deliver a new National Training Register.

A National Digital Australian Apprenticeships Portal will be established as a one-stop-shop to help employers manage their apprentice workforces and for apprentices to understand their entitlements. 

Securing Australia’s workforce

The 2021-22 Budget ensures Australians can upskill and reskill to get a job and set Australia up for the future.

The Government will continue to negotiate a new National Skills Agreement with the states and territories.

The Government is also helping secure Australia’s recovery through its Digital Workforce package, which will see 20,000 individuals upskill and reskill in digital fields including through:

  • Supporting over 3,000 digital apprentices and trainees through the BAC.
  • Accelerating the introduction of digital skills as part of the Skills for Education and Employment (SEE) Program – proposed funding of $4.0 million across the next two years will support up to 40 projects to incorporate digital literacy training into the SEE program.
  • Foundation Skills for Your Future Program – Digital Project Rounds – proposed funding of $5 million would prioritise around 20 projects with a digital skills focus. The Foundational Skills for Your Future Program provides project funding to improve foundation level language, literacy, numeracy and digital skills for employed or recently unemployed individuals.
  • A new Digital Skills Cadetship Trial will help more Australians to develop high level digital skills in fields such as cybersecurity, advanced manufacturing, data analytics, game design and animation. This $10.7 million trial will comprise of formal training with on-the-job learning, boosting the nation’s digitally-skilled workforce.

The Career Revive pilot program will be expanded, with 60 additional businesses given support to help them attract and retain women in their business.

The National Careers Institute’s Partnerships Grants program will also be expanded, offering $12.2 million for innovative projects that facilitate more career opportunities and supported career pathways for women.

Getting government to work for Australians

As part of the Digital Economy Package, the Government has reaffirmed its commitment to guaranteeing essential services for Australians now, and into the future, by allocating $200.1 million to design and deliver an enhanced myGov over the next two years.

An enhanced myGov will change the way Australians can find and access government information and services online, anywhere, anytime, using the device of their choice. myGov will also be more responsive to future government policy initiatives and deliver seamless and tailored whole-of-government services and payments.

With a jobs-led recovery at the heart of the 2021-22 budget, the Morrison Government is securing Australia’s future by getting more Australians into work and supporting them on their journey.