Release type: Media Release


Laying the foundations for all Australians


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

A new report underlines the importance of the Albanese Government’s foundation skills reforms, finding that 90 percent of respondents had unmet needs for adult literacy training, presenting major barriers to gaining better jobs and participating fully in society.  

The research undertaken by the Reading Writing Hotline paints a picture of the current community needs and barriers, and shows the needs for adult literacy, numeracy and digital literacy (LND) programs, courses and support. 

The report makes 17 recommendations, most of which the Commonwealth Government has advanced over the last year including providing support for Adult and Community Education delivery, increasing funding and flexibility and enhancing delivery and access. 

The report called for inequality in service delivery in remote locations and to First Nations communities to be addressed, and that delivery to be culturally appropriate and community led. 

Next year, the Albanese Government will invest $436 million over four years for a redesigned Skills for Education and Employment (SEE) program to improve access to foundation skills training - delivered in two streams - enabling people to take part more in the economy and society.

The first SEE stream will focus on Australians over the age of 15 who have left school and need training to improve their literacy, numeracy and digital skills, while the second will focus on First Nations people, providing grants to community-controlled organisations so they can partner directly with training providers.

Through the National Skills Agreement, the Albanese Government will also invest up to $142 million over the next five years to improve foundation skills training and access.

Partnering with states and territories, the funding will support Australians who are facing foundation skills challenges to access the quality training they need to participate in further education and training, employment, and the broader community.

The report involved consultation with adult literacy providers, community sector providers and libraries. Surveying First Nations adult education providers, Aboriginal Community Controlled Organisations and other community sector organisations around Australia.

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

"Far too many adult Australians face significant challenges with reading, writing, numeracy and digital skills – and this disproportionally affects First Nations Australians.

"The system has failed people and for the sake of equity, inclusion and economic growth we are making significant reforms to remove barriers to better jobs and participating fully in society.

"Improving foundation skills has economic, social and cultural benefits for the nation as well as for the individual."