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Skills Ministers Meet to Progress a Newly Revised 5-Year National Skills Agreement

Skills Ministers Meet to Progress a Newly Revised 5-Year National Skills Agreement image

Federal, State and Territory Skills and Training Ministers met in Darwin to progress negotiations towards a new National Skills Agreement (NSA) to support a modern and responsive skills sector. Building on the success of Fee-Free TAFE which has delivered over 146,000 enrolments in the first quarter of this year, Skills Ministers agreed to take action to achieve better outcomes for students and deliver more access and equity to the Vocational Education and Training (VET) system through a number of priority reform initiatives.

A new 5-year National Skills Agreement

Skills Ministers continued discussion about reform opportunities under the proposed 5-year NSA to address the urgency and opportunity of skills needed by employers and current and future skills for the economy. Commencing in January 2024, the NSA will provide States and Territories with access to additional Commonwealth investment of $4.1 billion over 5 years from 2024.

This includes a Commonwealth investment in TAFE which contributes an additional $400 million for a further 300,000 TAFE and vocational education places to become fee-free.

This investment shows the commitment of the Australian Government to work in partnership with States and Territories to ensure Australia’s VET sector, with TAFE at the centre, is high-quality, responsive, affordable and accessible, equipping Australians with the skills they need for well-paid, secure work and filling skill gaps for employers.

Skills Ministers agreed to progress the following shared reform directions to give effect to the Vision and Guiding Principles for a new NSA. National Cabinet and all jurisdictions remain committed to a 1 January 2024 commencement date for the new NSA: 

  • Shared stewardship of the national VET system
  • High quality and accessible training
  • Increasing access and completions, especially for those most in need, including for apprenticeships
  • Establishing nationally networked TAFE Centres of Excellence
  • Supporting the TAFE and training sector, including investment in the VET workforce
  • Closing the Gap in partnership with First Nations people
  • Coordinating access to foundation skills training to ensure ‘no wrong door’
  • Enhancing VET data and evidence
  • Fee-Free TAFE
  • Progressing gender equality
  • Continuing to work together on priorities including quality and qualifications reform,
  • Jobs and Skills Australia, Jobs and Skills Councils and the Universities Accord process.

Skills Ministers will continue to work through the details of the agreement and will design clear and simple arrangements to deliver on National Cabinet’s vision and principles for the agreement, including providing States and Territories appropriate flexibility, autonomy and funding certainty to deliver national, State and Territory priorities.

Read the full Ministers' Media Centre Release here.

Date posted May 25, 2023

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