Federal Labor will boost Central Victorian apprentice numbers across the country by ensuring Commonwealth funded projects prioritise locals for local jobs.
"Labor will set a target that at least one in 10 jobs on major projects will be filled by apprentices,” said Lisa Chesters, Federal Member for Bendigo.
"Boosting the number of apprenticeships is a key part of Labor’s skills and training agenda to deliver more Central Victorian jobs.
"Successful contracts and funding agreements with state and territory governments will be contingent on major contractors being part of Apprenticeship and Training Plans.
"It means a future Ravenswood Interchange Construction project will be required to employ apprentices and meet apprenticeships mandated ratios.
"Labor will also work with defence suppliers to ensure apprenticeships are maximised.
"The Hawkei contract is a heartbreaking example of why this policy is needed.
"Federal Government has signed a $1.6 billion Hawkei manufacturing contract to Thales but because there is no apprenticeship ratios required, there are none.
"Hundreds of locals learnt their trade at the old ADI facility, today known as Bendigo Thales.
"The Hawkie project could and should have delivered apprenticeship opportunities for the next generation of locals.
"This is a great policy commitment for Bendigo and Central Victoria. It demonstrates the difference between the Labor and Liberal party,” said Ms Chesters.
Under the Liberals, Australia has shed 128,000 apprenticeships and in the last 12 months, trade apprentice commencements have dropped 10.5 per cent.
“This is unacceptable.
“Worse still, the Liberals are refusing to crack down on abuses in the 457 visa system, where it has become too easy to import skills rather than train Australians.
“Labor’s plan will see apprenticeship numbers across Central Victoria rise and the quality of apprenticeships protected, recognising that skills are a key driver of productive performance and economic prosperity” said Ms Chesters.