After much anticipation, parliament passes 'Jobs and Skills Australia' bill

New workplace relations agency comes amid the urgency of skills crisis in the country

After much anticipation, parliament passes 'Jobs and Skills Australia' bill

The federal government further secured its plan to resolve significant skills shortages across the nation by announcing that the Jobs and Skills Australia (JSA) legislation had successfully passed the parliament on 27 October. Minister for Skills and Training Brendan O’Connor said in a news release that establishing the JSA has long been a significant priority for the government.

Recently, HRD reported on the legislation which seeks to create a new JSA agency as a statutory body within the Department of Employment and Workplace Relations (DEWR).

HRD further said that the government hopes to pass the bill to ease the burden on the labour market and its workforce. 

Key points of the JSA legislation

The minister for skills and training noted that passing the JSA is such an “important milestone,” considering that the country is currently experiencing a skills crisis, especially the lack of skilled workers, which threatens the economy.

JSA’s primary goal, according to the government, is to provide crucial advice to government and industry, especially at a time of significant economic shift. 

“Jobs and Skills Australia will bring together unions, employers, state and territory governments to provide independent advice to government on current and emerging workforce needs,” Connor said. “It will help improve skills development, employment opportunities and economic growth.”

To actualize the legislation’s goals, the Albanese Government said it had provided $12.9 million in the recent budget to help JSA comprehensively anticipate and identify skills shortages across the nation.

The government further invested $1.9mil to allow JSA to get to work on and organise a capacity study on the country’s clean energy workforce to better analyze the skills required to support the clean energy transition. 

“The expansion of new and emerging industries such as advanced manufacturing, technology and new energy will require a supply of highly specialised skills,” Connor said. 

“JSA will also lead the development and delivery of a $12 million new National Study on Adult Literacy, Numeracy, and Digital Literacy Skills that will provide a up-to-date evidence based on levels of these foundation skills among Australian adults,” he added.

The result of the new national study will help experts understand and design future programs and policies according to the government. 

“The Albanese Government has acted quickly to address critical skills shortages and has a comprehensive plan to tackle the skills needs of individuals and industry, and the factors that will shape demand for jobs and skills over the next 10 and 20 years,” Connor said. 

Lastly, the minister noted that the interim JSA body would replace the National Skills Commission a week after royal assent. 

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