Release type: Media Release


Australian Apprenticeships Incentive System Strategic Review


The Hon Brendan O'Connor MP
Minister for Skills and Training

The Honourable Justice Iain Ross AO and Ms Lisa Paul AO have been selected to lead a Strategic Review of the Australian Apprenticeships Incentive System.

The Albanese Government considers an in-depth review to be critical at this time as Australia faces the most serious skills shortages in decades.

Apprentices and trainees are vital to Australia’s economic growth and prosperity, in particular our transition to a net-zero economy.

The Incentive System should play a key role in building our labour force, by supporting apprentices and trainees to receive quality training and opportunities for secure, well-paid work and encouraging businesses to take on apprentices and trainees.

The Review will look at:

  • How the Incentive System and complementary services are performing in helping the take up and completion of apprenticeships and traineeships.
  • The impact that cost-of-living pressures is having on apprentices and trainees.
  • How the Apprenticeship System can best support high quality apprenticeships and traineeships, including the roles of government support, workplace conditions and culture, and employers.
  • If the current system is creating a training environment encouraging women, First Nations people, people with disability and people in regional, rural and remote communities into apprenticeships and traineeships.
  • How the Incentive System can be aligned with the priorities in the 2023 Employment White Paper and the Australian Government’s broader economic objectives.

While financial supports for apprentices and trainees are scheduled to change from 1 July 2024 following a decision by the previous Coalition Government in the March 2022-23 Budget, this Review will assist the government to implement a more effective, sustainable and long-term incentive system for apprentices and trainees.

The Review is accepting written submissions until 15 May 2024 and will establish a national program of online and face to face consultations in the coming weeks. 

For more information and how to make a submission, visit

Quotes attributable to Minister for Skills and Training Brendan O’Connor MP:

“I’d like to thank Justice Ross and Ms Paul for taking on this important work. Their combined experience and knowledge will ensure a holistic and comprehensive review.

“Getting the best outcomes for apprentices and trainees is vital to ensuring we have the skills our economy needs.

“We know that almost half of all apprentices don’t complete their training.

“Addressing the completion rate is not just vitally important for individuals and employers, but also for the Australian economy.”

Justice Iain Ross AO served as a judge of the Federal Court of Australia from 2012 to 2022, as well as President of the Fair Work Commission (formerly Fair Work Australia) during the same period. Before his appointment to the Federal Court, he was a judge of the Supreme Court of Victoria. Iain was previously an Assistant Secretary of the Australian Council of Trade Unions, Vice President of the former Australian Industrial Relations Commission, Commissioner of the Victorian Law Reform Commission, Chair of the Council of Australasian Tribunals, inaugural Chair of the Mediator Standards Board, a Judge of the County Court of Victoria, and partner of Corrs Chambers Westgarth. He was made an Officer of the Order of Australia in 2005.

Lisa Paul AO PSM is a former senior Australian public servant and policymaker. Lisa was appointed as Chancellor of the University of Canberra in January 2024. Lisa was the Secretary of the Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations from 2007 to 2013 and Secretary of the Department of Education and Training from 2014 to 2016. Since these appointments, Lisa has joined various boards of listed and unlisted companies including chairing Headspace, the National Youth Mental Health Foundation and the role of Director of Social Ventures Australia, and Schools Plus. Lisa co-chaired the 2023 Independent Review Panel for the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS). Lisa was awarded a Public Service Medal for her work coordinating the Commonwealth’s domestic response to the Bali bombings. In 2011, Lisa was appointed an Officer of the Order of Australia for distinguished service to public sector leadership in key policy and program implementation.