The Crest of the Commonwealth of Australia Treasury Portfolio Ministers
Picture of Wayne Swan

Wayne Swan

Deputy Prime Minister and Treasurer

3 December 2007 - 27 June 2013

16 May 2011

Doorstop Interview

Cumberland Ford, Blacktown

16 May 2011

SUBJECTS: Budget 2011-12; Skills and Training; Mental Health; Opinion Polls

TREASURER:

Well it's good to be here with Michelle Rowland and David Bradbury, it's good to be here at Cumberland Ford. They're doing a fantastic job training apprentices here and, of course, jobs and future apprenticeships, training for the future has been the centrepiece of this year's Budget. There's a really strong emphasis on building a bigger and better workforce for the future. We've got a very strong investment pipeline in Australia in the years ahead and we need a bigger and better workforce and a really well-trained workforce. So today, we've got Ford's Apprentice of the Year here. It's a real privilege to meet Justin and also to meet his dad, who's worked here for 30 years. I think it does say something about a firm that they've got two generations of mechanics who have contributed significantly to this business, working with business.

With over 40 employees and five apprentices they're certainly doing their part in training the next generation of Australians who are going to deliver prosperity to our country because in the Budget we talk a lot of about spreading opportunity. Australia is going to create something like 500,000 new jobs in the next couple of years and we need to train all of those people for the future. We need to make sure we've got a bigger and better workforce. That's why it's good to be here today and also to talk with the apprentices about the importance of study. One of the problems in Australia we have with apprenticeships is that too many drop out. Over half the apprentices in Australia don't complete their apprenticeship and that's why there's such a strong emphasis in the Budget on doing more to ensure they do complete their apprenticeship. Not only do we provide financial incentives for apprentices to complete, what we are doing in this Budget is giving them some more assistance. We're going to have mentors working with apprentices to make sure or to work with them to see that they don't drop out of their apprenticeship.

We can't afford to waste that talent. We can't afford to waste that training. That's why, in the Budget, we think building a better apprenticeship system, building a better training system and skilling up workers in Australia is the best thing we can do to ensure our future prosperity. Over to you.

JOURNALIST:

How will this Budget cater for apprentices who lose their jobs?

TREASURER:

Well many apprentices just simply drop out of their apprenticeship. So we've got additional financial incentives incorporated in this Budget. They total something like $5,500 for an apprentice over the course of their apprenticeship. In addition to that there are also incentives which go to employers but we think we have to do a bit more. I think you'll see in this company, there's a real emphasis on mentoring apprentices but what we want to do is we want to see that happen across the board. That's why there's a very significant financial allocation in this Budget for us to get tradespeople out there to mentor apprentices on the job, to make sure and to give them a helping hand and a bit of advice, there may be occasions where a clip over the ear so that they continue doing their study and stay at work. Anything else?

JOURNALIST:

How much money has been put aside for the new Trade Training Centres?  There were three allocated for Greenway I believe?

TREASURER:

Well there's a significant amount of money but I'll throw to Michelle.

ROWLAND:

Well those Trades Training Centres do service a large number of people in Greenway, they're around the Blacktown area but also Mount Druitt. Now, the important thing to remember, I think, is that when I hold, and I know David does the same, when I hold mobile offices in this local area, when I speak to people, a lot of the issues that people raise are social ills. Social ills like vandalism and crime. Now when you have a job, when you're in meaningful training that makes you job-ready, you're not out committing these social ills. So this Budget is directly responding to the very issues that my constituents are raising and that's about jobs and 3,100 new apprentices in Greenway is a marvellous achievement under this Budget. We need more of them. They're going to keep driving this country and driving local businesses. This business in Blacktown has been here for something like 30 years or more and it will continue to be here driven by local employment opportunities because of what we are doing in this Budget.

TREASURER:

Michelle bought her first car here.

ROWLAND:

That's right. I did buy my first car here. I got it serviced here and look forward to many constituents in Greenway doing the same.

JOURNALIST:

On an unrelated topic, Gillard's taken a beating in the polls since the Budget. Do you take any, do you have anything to say about that?

TREASURER:

Oh look, the only numbers that matter to the Government are the 500,000 additional jobs that are going to be created in the next couple of years. What we're doing in this Budget is getting the economic settings right for the future of the country. That's what's important.

JOURNALIST:

Also in the Budget it was announced increased spending on mental health. Is there a likelihood of a new mental health facility either here at Blacktown or Mount Druitt Hospital?

TREASURER:

Well certainly there is a very significant increase in funding for mental health. You can't move around a community anywhere in Australia without talking to families that in some way have been affected by mental illness in their community. So, it's a very high priority and I know it's a very high priority for the two Members that are with me today and what we've got to do is roll out more of the programs we've financed in this Budget across a wider range of communities right across our country. That plan will be done by those who are designing the programs. I think it's a bit early to say precisely where some of those projects will be located but I'm sure these two Members here will be very loud in arguing for the location of some of these projects in these local communities.

JOURNALIST:

Has the recent New South Wales election result sort of changed the way the Government views the votes here in Western Sydney?

TREASURER:

Well, I regard Western Sydney as one of the great powerhouses of the Australian economy and one of the great places to be in Australia, and elections and come and go. It doesn't change that view.