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Industry Skills Fund open for consultation

31 July, 2014

The federal government is seeking feedback on the design and implementation of the new Industry Skills Fund, the $476 million programme which will underpin Australia's sustainable industries of the future.

Minister for Industry Ian Macfarlane released a discussion paper (28 July) that provides details on various aspects of the fund, including priority areas, eligibility, relevant activities, merit criteria and funding arrangements.

"The Industry Skills Fund is a centrepiece of the Australian government's new support infrastructure for business and is a key element of the Australian government's National Industry Investment and Competitiveness Agenda," Macfarlane said.

"The government is working with Australian business to identify and capitalise on the opportunities that allow us to build on our areas of competitive strength, nurture Australian creativity and ingenuity and generate new products and markets.

"To do so, it will be imperative that Australian businesses have access to the skilled and productive workforce they need to turn good ideas into great commercial outcomes.

"The Industry Skills Fund will provide up to 200,000 training places and support services over four years for businesses that are seeking to improve their productivity and competitiveness in a global market."

Contribution from government and industry

Macfarlane said: "It will involve a co-contribution system in which business and government co-invest in the skills that employers in priority sectors of the economy need to diversify into new markets, adopt new technologies, enter export markets or respond to Australian market opportunities."

The Industry Skills Fund will address workforce capability issues that affect the ability of Australian small and medium businesses to respond quickly to new and changing opportunities.

The government is continuing to work with the skills and training sector on reforms to the Vocational Education and Training (VET) system to ensure Australia's skills base meets the existing needs of business and can provide the sophisticated and productive workforce of the future.

Submissions in response to the discussion paper and consultation questions will close on 7 September 2014. Consultation will continue as the fund is fully rolled out.

The Industry Skills Fund will commence on 1 January 2015 and will be delivered through the new Single Business Service initiative – AusIndustry.

Interested businesses can register for updates.

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