Governments sign new National Skills Agreement

A landmark agreement will deliver billions of dollars to build the skills and prosperity of NSW.

The NSW Government logo overlaying a photo of an empty classroom. The NSW Government logo overlaying a photo of an empty classroom.

The Albanese and Minns Governments have signed a landmark agreement that will deliver billions of dollars to build the skills and prosperity of NSW.

The landmark five-year National Skills Agreement (NSA) – which will take effect from January next year - was developed under principles agreed by National Cabinet and will embed national cooperation and strategic investment in the NSW vocational education and training sector.

NSW is set to benefit from over $3.81 billion of investment from the Albanese Government, supporting investment by the Minns Government to expand and transform access to the VET sector.

The five-year agreement places TAFE at the heart of the VET sector, providing the funding certainty required to support quality training and implement reforms to address critical skills needs.

The NSA will provide for $1.055 billion of additional funding to NSW, enabling NSW to complete significant reform to the Skills and Training sector. This will support the Minns Government’s commitments to investing and rebuilding TAFE NSW and the broader skills sector.

This includes investing in TAFE Centres of Excellence, boosting foundation skills in language, literacy, numeracy and digital literacy and Closing the Gap in educational outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

In an historic first, a new National Stewardship model will coordinate strategic investment in skills across the economy and support delivery of skills needed in national priority areas, as well as providing States and Territories with flexibility to meet local industry skills needs.

Nationally, the $12.6 billion investment by the Commonwealth includes an extra $2.4 billion in flexible funding to support State and Territory skills sectors with capacity to deliver skills for critical and emerging industries. Priorities include:

  • Clean energy and Net Zero transformation of the economy.
  • Australia’s sovereign capability, including advanced manufacturing skills, national security, food security and construction.
  • Care and support services.
  • Ensuring Australia’s digital and technology capability

This new investment is on top of $414 million already committed nationally for the delivery of 300,000 Fee-Free TAFE places from 2024.

Quotes attributable to Minister for Skills and Training, Brendan O’Connor:

“This landmark agreement will kickstart real change.

“I’d like to thank my counterpart Skills Ministers for their genuine cooperation in looking to rebuild national vocational education and training, with TAFE at its heart.

“The TAFE sector has endured periods of underfunding, impacts of deregulation, loose rules of VET market entry, a lack of national cohesion and an obsession for competition at the expense of collaboration.

“By providing genuine national leadership in partnership with states and territories, we are building a system that is greater than the sum of its parts.

“A high performing and world class VET sector is crucial for achieving a fairer society and a stronger economy.”

Quotes attributable to NSW Minister for Skills, TAFE and Tertiary Education, Steve Whan MP

“The National Skills Agreement marks a united commitment from the Commonwealth and NSW Government to train key workers in priority industries and build a robust and scalable skills-force.

“Over the next five years, we will have the tools to rebuild TAFE, proactively manage skills shortages and support some of our state’s most disadvantaged students.

“TAFE has experienced years of uncertainty. This agreement will ensure its long-term stability. Through TAFE, we will be able to upskill in-demand workers and maximise opportunities in the skills system.

“It is particularly pleasing to see the close alignment in priorities between the NSW and Federal Governments, with support provided for Minns Government commitments such as TAFE Centres of excellence, Closing the Gap initiatives, ensuring access to literacy and numeracy training, and improving course completions.”

  • Ministerial media releases
  • News
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