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Scott Morrison unveils $2B ‘JobTrainer’ plan to help school leavers amid pandemic

Scott Morrison has been under pressure for taking a holiday during thr bushfire crisis. Picture Kym Smith. Source:News Corp Australia. Sketched by the Pan Pacific Agency.

CANBERRA, Jul 16, 2020, 9News. Prime Minister Scott Morrison has announced details around the new $2 billion JobTrainer plan aimed at reskilling and upskilling Australians. The scheme will help Australians train for areas where skills are needed – including those forced to change industries, 9News reported.

“What we are announcing today with $500 million for investment this year between now and the end of the financial year, starting at the beginning of September, is to create those places for Australians to get access to those vocational educational trainings, right across the board,” Mr Morrison said.

The new JobTrainer scheme “won’t just be for young people” but school leavers are among those set to benefit most, Mr Morrison said.

“There are 340,000 training places in this package that runs from September through to the end of June,” he said.

“That doesn’t just support those who have left the workforce through no fault of their own, but that also is supporting school leavers as well at the end of this year.

“It’s important for people if they want to take on new apprentices that they are able to hold their current apprentices, and that is the most urgent need as we speak right now.”

He said NSW, South Australia, Queensland, Tasmania and the ACT have signed up or are about to.

Mr Morrison also announced an extra cash boost for apprentices, following earlier assistance.

“It is sad and it is upsetting for many Australians that the industries and places where they’d been working, they will find it very difficult to find new employment in those sectors with those skills, potentially for some time.”

Mr Morrison said the “Australian economy is fighting back” despite an increase in unemployment figures.
Mr Morrison said he expected the numbers to get worse because of Victoria’s COVID-19 lockdown.

“The unemployment figures released in the last hour have been for June,” he said.

“In July, I expect we will see an impact from Victoria but of what it has demonstrated in June is that Australia has opened up again.”

Mr Morrison also hinted at an announcement next week on whether JobKeeper would continue beyond September.

When asked about income support, he said: “We have been putting further touches on the last few days to ensure the decisions we’ve made are as timely and targeted as possible.

“One of the great challenges as we manage through this crisis is there are so many unknowns and uncertainties and have a very clear idea about what the world will look like in a few months from now is not an easy task but we believe we’ve been able to fine tune those decisions well over recent weeks.”

‘There is hope’

Mr Morrison issued a rallying cry to Australians, telling the country to “lift our heads.”

His JobTrainer announcement also came as Victoria recorded its biggest ever spike in coronavirus cases.

“As difficult as these times are, let’s not look down, let’s look up, let’s lift our heads,” Mr Morrison said.

“Today’s employment figures shows there is hope. It shows we have done it before and we can do it again.

“We will continue to apply every resource we have available to ensure we get on top of the health situation with the virus in Victoria and across the other states and territories.

“That is our absolute commitment but equally, we need to ensure that we don’t allow setbacks, Australians are incredibly resilient and even as we go through these difficult times, let’s lift our heads and keep looking forward.”

Mr Morrison praised NSW’s handling of the new outbreak linked to a Sydney pub.

He said authorities have moved quickly to work to contain the Crossroads Hotel outbreak without requiring the state’s restrictions to change.

“The best protection to live alongside the virus and to open up your economy – you don’t protect your economy by continually shutting things down” Mr Morrison said.

“That’s what you have to do when things get to the point they have in Victoria.

“But you can continue to move forward in the way that NSW is demonstrating by building that capability for tracing and testing and so on, and that’s been quite effective in this case, and hopefully we will see that situation continue to improve as well.

“But as we know there are no guarantees. We are always in uncharted waters.”

‘You can’t mortgage off your economy’

Mr Morrison said Australia’s approach to the coronavirus outbreak had always been “an aggressive suppression strategy” rather than trying to eradicate the virus altogether.

Mr Morrison said trying to eradicate it would see hundreds of thousands unemployed.

“You can’t mortgage off your economy for what would prove to be an illusory goal,” he said.

Mr Morrison made an appeal to all Australians, especially those currently unemployed to “keep our heads up,” amid the ongoing economic crisis.

“For all those young people, all those older people, for whatever age you are in our workforce, we know that this is one of the hardest times, if not the hardest time in your life you’ve experienced out there in the labour market,” Mr Morrison said.

“We are there quickly, with the sort of support you need to enable you to hopefully get back into a job but if not, to give you the skills you need to get into that job that will be there.

“But most of all Australia, let’s keep our heads up. Let’s keep our heads up and keep going forward.”

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