End apprentice ratio ban on government jobs to boost skills

Published: 13 Oct 2021

The Morrison Government needs to scrap rules that ban apprentice ratios on government jobs and increase investment in local skills training in the wake of projected workforce supply issues identified by Infrastructure Australia.

“The CFMEU has been calling for an expansion of local skills training for years to ensure Australians who need work can get local jobs, but the Morrison Government has failed to act and big business has refused to invest,” said Dave Noonan CFMEU National Construction Secretary.

“The Morrison Government has erected significant barriers to employing local apprentices in the construction industry. The Australian Building Code bans apprentice ratios on government jobs, including almost all infrastructure projects.”

“Apprentice ratio provisions should be an important part of developing a future skilled construction workforce, yet the Code bans them from inclusion in EBAs if the employer bids for government work.”

“The Federal Government has also ripped billions of dollars out of the TAFE and VET sectors and actively worked against the training of apprentices. It is time to reverse this and invest properly in local skills training.”

“Calls for an increase in skilled migration should not come at the cost of local jobs. If migration is proven to be needed, it should be permanent not temporary to end the rorts and exploitation of vulnerable workers that are endemic to the current system.”

“If engineers are part of the identified need for skilled workers, they must be trained to Australian standards and registered so buildings and structures are safe in their construction and over their lifetime of use.”

“Expanding temporary visa migration will only entrench a system that exploits foreign workers while undercutting opportunities for local workforces.”

“We have seen the catastrophic impact of the exploitation of temporary visa workers in the construction industry where the union has stepped in numerous times to stop the appalling mistreatment of entire workforces, including people going unpaid for months and being forced to work in dangerous and unsafe conditions.”