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ACTU: JobTrainer scheme latest in poor government plans to cut unemployment

By William Olson  

The Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU) has heightened its calls for the Morrison government to extend the existing JobKeeper and JobSeeker schemes beyond their respective September expiry dates, and also criticized the planned application of the new JobTrainer scheme as the national unemployment rate has risen to 7.4 per cent.

The ACTU fears that many of the three million people currently receiving JobKeeper payments risk falling into the ranks of the unemployed if the government fails to extend the scheme in ten weeks’ time.

“No one wants to see more people fall through the gaps which is why we need to extend JobKeeper and deliver a comprehensive plan for a jobs-led reconstruction,” Michele O’Neil, the ACTU’s president, said on Thursday.

“People need reassurance that Australia isn’t going over an economic cliff,” added O’Neil, “so the sooner the Government tells people the plan, the better for everyone.”

Citing monthly figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), the national unemployment rate rose 0.4 per cent to 7.4 per cent for the month of June. However, the ACTU also acknowledges the belief of Josh Frydenberg, as the federal treasurer thinks the “real” unemployment figure – to encompass those who have lost faith in the pandemic-related job market – may be closer to 13 percent.

“We have 13 times more unemployed people than jobs available, and record rates of young people [are] either out of work or needing more hours,” said O’Neil, in pointing out the challenges and inadequacies alike by the Morrison government to combat unemployment figures that have climbed since the COVID-19 pandemic and resulting national recession started.

Another one of those inadequacies, according to the ACTU, lies in the new JobTrainer scheme as announced on Thursday morning by Michaelia Cash, the jobs minister for the Morrison government.

“Our nation has faced many challenges, and it is critical that we keep our apprentices in jobs and help those looking for work,” Cash said in unveiling the government’s new $2 billion employment investment package.

“This package will be essential as the economy rebuilds so that people looking for work can reskill and upskill for in-demand jobs, provide school leavers with a pathway into their careers, and ensure businesses are able to get the skilled workers they need,” Cash added.

However, O’Neil counters the government’s newest scheme, pointing out that while it represents “a good start” by returning two-thirds of the funding cut from training programs during the Abbott/Turnbull/Morrison LNP regimes, the direction of JobTrainer could be better applied through the TAFE institutes rather than through private providers.

“The JobTrainer plan restores some of the money in the training sector but it needs to be targeted to TAFE, which we know works, not handed over to the privatized sector which we know is full of dodgy providers,” said O’Neil.

Not only does the JobTrainer scheme – as another one of its shortcomings – expire in March of next year, but it also recalls another heavily-critiqued job-creation plan on Morrison’s watch, when he was the nation’s treasurer in 2016.

The Youth Jobs PaTH program, not only criticized as instituting its sham-like $4/hour “internship” scheme that never created a single job beyond an initial interval to young workers, was also seen to be run to benefit private Job Network providers.

“People need a real pathway that builds on skill development into real work so expanding the program to include new apprentices and making sure there are government projects with mandated minimum numbers of trainees and apprentices is what we need to see now,” said O’Neil in the ACTU’s constructive criticism of the JobTrainer program.

Also, on Tuesday, O’Neil and the ACTU also implored the Morrison government to extend the JobSeeker program not just for the benefit of the unemployed persons who receive it, but to help stimulate the economy out of recession as well.

Citing the overall health, safety and well-being of those receiving the $1138 per fortnight JobSeeker scheme since it was introduced on March 30, O’Neil insists that cutting the rate back to old NewStart-alone levels of $40 per day would have catastrophic effects on the nation’s unemployed.

“JobSeeker isn’t just important during the pandemic – it is essential that people looking for work have time and security to find a job,” said O’Neil.

“We need to understand the impact of this virus and part of that is ensuring that no one falls into poverty when they lose their job. Any move to cut the rate will be opposed,” O’Neil added.

In advising the Morrison government to extend the JobSeeker and JobKeeper programs beyond September and suggesting that the new JobTrainer scheme should be run through the TAFE systems, O’Neil and the ACTU – in the last few days alone – are further enhancing their reputation as an organization that remains on the side of working people and the unemployed alike.

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17 comments

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  1. Gangey1959

    ” What are you doing here, kid?”
    “I’m here for JobTrainer, sir”
    “Oh. Hmmm. Ok. See that stick. It’s called a broom. Put the hairy bit on the floor, hold the wooden bit in both hands like this (demonstrates) and push it around through the dirty stuff on the floor. Then Then put the dirty stuff into that round tin there, that’s called a bin. Got it ?”
    “Yes. But what about the training?”
    “Everyone has to start somewhere, kid. I’ll check on you in a bit.”
    ………. a bit later………
    “Ok. Your done. Here is your form. All signed and dated. Happy?”
    “But what about my training?”
    “As I said, it’s done. You’re a cleaner. See ya.”

    How good is scottyfromadvertising. More cash for thems that has too much for doing sfa already, and nothing that will give anyone any lasting benefit. No wonder the belgian bullshitter jumped ship, the writing on the wall is too bloody obvious.

  2. Ill fares the land

    It is evident, to all but the LNP, in particular Saint Scotty (he was only King Scotty, but he canonised himself when he formed the view that he had performed countless miracles) and the utterly repugnant Michawlia Cash (that is a deliberate spelling by the way – her diction and pronunciation is even more grating than fingernails on a blackboard), that the setting up of publicly funded but privately-owned training “schools” resulted in a massive transfer of wealth from public to private hands (the nationalisation of funding and/or risk always results in that outcome because of gouging by the privileged few that have bestowed upon them the constant drip of public money) and achieved no measurable benefits in terms of a more skilled workforce. They know this to be the case and still persist with that model, largely because of the LNP’s abject distaste for anything that sounds like “more government”. The sad fact is that vocational training has been progressively eviscerated over many years and the LNP has and looks likely to further exacerbate that decline. Giving gougers even more funding offers no assurance that they will achieve the stated outcomes. I suggest that like his US counterpart, the even more deluded and mentally unstable Trump, Saint Scotty’s announcements are more about electioneering than substance. The more I hear, the more I am inclined to think that we will get a vote-buying budget in October and an election soon after.

  3. ajogrady

    Small business are the sycophantic gullible lapdog pawns used and abused by the L/NP. Since John Howard and the L/NP started their war on workers and unions they destroyed many permanent jobs. It created a casualised dog eat dog world of private contractors who have been sold out and are basically cannon fodder for corporations and big business where payment can be over 90 days.These contractors and sub contractors are vying for and under cutting each other for work that was originally permanent and with benefits or the scraps of small opportunities that might be left that big business and corporations have not yet targeted. Small businesses is a small impediment to the L/NP’s major donors, corporations and big business, if they can see a dollar to be made. How many small family owned businesses like liquor stores have failed because of Dan Murphy’s or local butcher shops because of Woolworths or greengrocers brcause of IGA or corner milk bars because of Coles or independant hardware stores because of Bunnings. There are many more examples of how small businesses are betrayed by the L/NP when it has benefited their major donors, big business and corporations. It is time for small business to wake up to the fact that the L/NP are not their saviour and in particular do not respect or represent them.

  4. andy56

    These people seriously, we need to tar and feather them. One job for every 13 people, and all the thirteen need is training and suddenly 13 more jobs will appear? This is pure magic, superstition and stuff of divine intervention. Why is the mainstream media not calling this out?

    The economy as we knew it is GONE. We need to find other tools and methods to go forward. Been reading a bit about MMT. Man , if these people are serious and consider this appropriate then we are no better than fred flinstone. They still think in terms of cycles and stability. Technology is moving the goal posts and this is another ideological driven shit of an idea. The government printing money is a pretext for the other ideological clap trap. It also talks of government generated jobs. For fuck sake , just do the basic maths . 10,000 government made jobs at $100,000 per job, A UBI at $25,000 will provide 40,000 people with a life. People , government generated jobs is a CON JOB.
    $2b training program is a CON JOB. At 64, i am no longer able to climb ladders, sure i can use power tools but i have worked in the building industry and you have to climb ladders. I am no longer fit to carry heavy weights all day. I retrained and got my heavy truck licence but i can tell you from experience there is more to being a truck driver than just driving. You have to be a mechanic and work an extra 2 hrs a day inspecting the truck cause if any thing happens, your in the dog house, not the owner. I can retrain in the welfare sector but fuck i need a certificate in what to push a wheelchair? By that stage i will be a pensioner. I saw what my parents went through in the last depression, they never worked again. What else can i do? I am good with computers, i can learn to use a warehouse pad but then i am going to compete with 20/30yr olds. Agism is alive and thriving. I thought about farm work but who wants to work for slave labour rates?
    The only solution is a UBI, Set it at $25,000 and let the tax office do its job with proportionate sliding scales so that rich people pay a bit more tax and poor people are not disinfranchised from society, Maybe extra incentives for voluntering work. . Then we can talk about dismantling super which is $120b sucked out of the economy every year. We can get rid of the phrase” pensioner”. We can dismantle the gestapo ie centerlink. No other government department is so actively involved in crucifying poor people. The government should be in the business of helping people and the economy, not kneeing people in the neck. We are not talking about rich people getting a $9000 a year tax break. We are talking people on subsistence money earning a couple hundred here and there. All incentives for profiting from “old ” property need to disappear. We need incentives to get business that generates wealth going and businesses based on asset growth to disappear. A UBI will turn capitalism around. Employers will be looking for workers. Isnt that what the liberal slogan is “JOBS, JOBS JOBS”. Peiople who want to work will get a job, isnt that what we all want?

    Its not rocket science or ideological driven economic theory, its an engineering idea. Define where you are, where you want to go and then design the tools. At the moment, we are haphazardly patching up ideology and thats working a treat, no? Ideology like giving people free money will make them lazy. people wont work if the dole is too high. I mean who are these creeps that assume certain human behaviours? Brain Surgeons?Protestant shit heads? Its been proven over and over and over again that people respond best to kindness and lots of carrots. The stick works for a while then it makes you phsyco.
    As an engineering type of person i get pretty peeved at policy that doesnt meet its objective because of ideology or hidden agendas. Super is a classic case, incentives to buy and sell housing is another area of abismal failure. Building an outhouse for the museum in canberra because it will inspire returned service men to overcome PTS is another.

  5. Matters Not

    MMT might be new for some but it’s been out about for some time – including much on this site. Today, (Friday 17 July) the ABC adds to the ‘literature’ on MMT.

    proponents of the theory say that far from being a problem, budget deficits are often a good thing — they can be the source of healthy economic growth. … argue a country like Australia that controls its own currency doesn’t need to tax or borrow before its national government can spend money — the government can create all the money it needs to fund itself …

    people who developed it have been working on the body of theory for decades, quietly, in countries such as Australia and the United States, but their ideas have recently burst out into the open as global leaders search for fresh ideas to deal with the unprecedented economic crisis of 2020, and the lingering effects of the global financial crisis in 2008-09.

    Much more here and also links at the conclusion. (Seems to me that this is the time when MMT proponents should be basking in the sunshine but they say it’s all too hard.)

    https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-07-17/what-is-modern-monetary-theory/12455806

  6. andy56

    ajogrady, that was the ideology of competition remember? Privatise everything because competition will make everything cheaper and better. The reality is competition leads to the law of the jungle. Dog eat dog driving prices ever downwards. And lets adopt worlds best practice means machines do it so much cheaper than people. Or lets go to china, its so cheap. Its an ideology not based on facts and yet it drives so many of the things we do. It has no thoughts for consequences and then demands patchups which are equaly as stupid.
    They have forgotten the basics of capitalism and gone all esoteric. Strayed so far from the sidewalk, the first bus through has made a direct hit. ITS DEMAND, not supply that rules. Sure you can talk supply when demand outstrips the available supply, but over the last 20yrs we have seen demand slowly drop. NO AMOUNT OF FREE GOODS will fix the fact we have 10 washing machines already. This is the problem we must address. A UBI goes a long way to addressing the issue. Stripping $120b in super and $250b in mortgage repayments every year from the economy is also doing wonders.

  7. Pete Petrass

    Until we can be rid of these incompetent arseholes in around 2 years time all we will see is truckloads of corruption, squillions of taxpayer dollars being wasted or going missing, increasing poverty and unemployment, an economy so far down the toilet it will have reached the sewage farm, and a lot of rich people that will be significantly richer. Everything they do is ‘smoke and mirrors’, or to coin an old phrase they will only produce ‘claytons’ results.
    The $64 question is just how long will it take labor to get us back.

  8. andy56

    Further to my take on a UBI. If super was dismantled and 4million people were on a ubi of $25,000 There would be a surplus pool of $20b and $100b would be injected into the economy for people to spend EVERY YEAR. UBI $25,000 Just do the maths people. That would cover all unemployed and pensioners. Just plain vanilla maths. If this doesnt make you think the system is fucked , what will?

  9. andy56

    Pete, if you think labor will get us ” back”, you may need a bex and a good lie down. Until Labor understands its not business as usual, it will be patching things up. Until labor is allowed the luxury of government, they arent even thinking of the next step. The problem is US. Until we the people demand change, nothing much will change on purpose but things will keep “happening to us”

  10. DrakeN

    “Until we the people demand change…”

    Another quote in reply: “The Price of Progress is the Pain of Change”.

    In my experience – over threequarters of a Century of it – people are generally unwilling to pay a fair price for anything, fear even the smallest pain and are fundamentally resistant to change of any kind.

    Changes which have been made have been achieved by very gradual process and, to a great extent, by deflecting attention from the sources of the pain.
    Shiny toys, trinkets and spoonsful-of-sugar used as pacifiers if any pain is imposed too suddenly.
    “Free beer tomorrow” seems quite effective, too, as as a kind of carrot to entice the donkeys at voting time.

  11. ajogrady

    andy56

    Turning fulltime employees who were union members into “dog eat dog” contractors with no one to represent them was a social engineering masterstroke. John Howard and the L/NP conned them but they will still vote for the L/NP because they are contractors not workers.These newbee contractors do not realise that they are cannon fodder for big business and corporations that the L/NP are sycophantic foot soldiers for.

  12. totaram

    Andy56: “.. 10,000 government made jobs at $100,000 per job, A UBI at $25,000 will provide 40,000 people with a life. ”

    Why should the government job cost 100K and the UBI only 25K? No need to do any maths when you have stuffed up the assumptions to start with. Your accounting is just like the coalition government’s accounting. I’m sure they’ll have you as one of their spin-meisters.

    “People , government generated jobs is a CON JOB.”
    Wow! Lovely slogan. The IPA will love it. Only Private sector jobs are any good. Right?
    You’ve got hired already. Apply to the IPA immediately!

  13. andy56

    totaram, you seem to think that the government will create jobs with no oversite. $60,000 job and then add the over heads, another $15,000 Then add the cost of who ever is in charge and the minions under him.Then add the costs of materials. $100,000 is not an extravagant claim. Even if its $80,000, its still more than 3 times less efficient than a UBI. Learn to add up please. A UBI is far far more efficient and helps a hell of a lot more people than government jobs will ever do.
    As for equating me to the IPA, i suggest you grab a brain from somewhere and mind meld. Yes its a fucking con job because there is no hope in hell of the government generating enough jobs.

  14. totaram

    andy56: I assure you I can add up much better than you can. You are also rather ignorant about a lot of things especially the Job Guarantee. On this link you can read about the Job Guarantee by one of the leading proponents who has spent around 25 years working on it:

    http://bilbo.economicoutlook.net/blog/?s=job+guarantee

    I’ll leave it there, as there is quite a lot of stuff you need to digest. Have a nice day!

  15. andy56

    totaram, i think if you look at history, the government has form. $55m for two refugees comes to mind, a bit extreem yea but exactly what i am talking about. The latest building industry con, $650m for how many jobs? Average tradie is on $80,000plus, that makes 8100 jobs for 1 year and thats not without the builder taking his 20% of projects. And in context, most of the people who will take advantage will have been budgeting to do it anyway. Jobs for everyone just opens this type of inept policy to anyone. So i think you need to get in the real world a bit. Even at the most extreme point, a UBI is far more efficient.

    Lets be clear here, MMT makes assumptions. It assumes a STABLE state and has features to maintain stability. It assumes everyone will get a job with no real clear trade offs. It assumes certain human behaviours much like every other ideological thought train. I am looking at this as an engineering problem, no social engineering involved.

    I make my case here. NO government will PROVIDE jobs for everyone. There is a limit even in Utopia. ITS A CON. Your exposing politicians to more capricious temptations to meddle with things and then more excuses. A UBI is an investment in everyone, it reframes capitalism in ways that is more efficient and fairer. It acknowledges that technology will move the goal posts, that the economy isnt one homogeneous stable platform. It takes shit out of politicians hands, shit they dont need to tempt them. Shit like setting poverty traps or gestapo agents inquiring into your sex life, all for $40. It cuts a swave through red tape. It allows you to make meaningful changes to things like super.

    You dont provide an alternative calculation so we can check your ideas . You tell me how much jobs for everyone will cost. Its a simple proposition, UBI, flat amount , no strings, NO RED TAPE with benefits to the economy. Jobs for everyone? More expensive due to higher salary and overheads, more red tape for centerlink, open to government whims – more toilet blocks?, implies a status quo or stable state economy or the price skyrockets.

    We all know technology will take most of our jobs, so why not factor that in to the economic system we want. Cut to the chase. Jobs for everyone is not possible in the current economic model nor the alternative austerity model. MMT is also short because lots of its assumptions are no better. SISO

    What i propose is a UBI in context with other major changes it enables. A more streamlined government, a fairer society and a capitalism that works for us.

  16. totaram

    andy56: You didn’t read the link I provided, did you? Didn’t even look at it, I can tell. Because then you would have seen just the title of some of those blog posts. Here is one:

    “There is more to the Job Guarantee literature than a few blog posts”.

    There is no point discussing these things with people like you. On one hand is a Professor of Economics at UNSW and his fellow international collaborators with years of published research work on the Job Guarantee. Some of that is discussed on those posts on that link, but you can’t be bothered even looking at them.

    On the other hand, you want to “check some calculations” in a single blog post and solve the problem, and clinch the argument. You claim some “real world experience”, and no doubt some scintillatingly brilliant intellect. Presumably, everyone else, even if they have spent a quarter century researching the issue, is a duffer.

    As I said before, have a nice day!

  17. andy56

    thats alright Totaram, you keep thinking another theory is gonna work or get us out this mess. I did read your link and it hasnt changed my thinking

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