Release type: Joint Media Release


Skills agreement to increase Territory’s training capacity


The Hon Brendan O'Connor MP
Minister for Skills and Training
The Hon Paul Kirby MLA
Northern Territory Minister for Business, Jobs and Training

A new skills deal made with the Federal Government will provide immediate support for 1500 Fee-Free TAFE places for the NT in 2023, to develop the Territory’s Workforce.

The agreement will inject a further $9.4 million into the Territory’s skills and vocational education and training sector.

This investment provides immediate support for up to 1500 Fee-Free TAFE and Vocational Education and Training (VET) places, which will be offered in the hospitality and tourism, care sectors including aged care, agriculture, technology and digital, construction, sovereign capability, and other priority sectors including foundation skills.

The funding will primarily be delivered by Northern Territory public providers, especially in remote and care sectors. Private providers will also support the delivery of training in priority areas.

The course list will see approximately 600 Fee-Free places in the care sector, 200 places in construction, 150 places in agriculture, 120 places in Hospitality and Tourism, 80 places in Transport, Logistics and Manufacturing, 50 places in the Technology and Digital Sector and a further 300 places for other critical sectors, including foundation skills.

The 12-month Skills Agreement is the first stage of delivering on the skills commitments in the Australian Government’s Future Made in Australia Skills Plan. It also confirms TAFE, public and private providers’ role in the VET sector, increasing opportunities and workforce participation of priority groups, while addressing critical skills gaps in the economy.

All governments have agreed to a vision and guiding principles for longer-term VET reform to commence in 2024.

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

“The Australian Government recognises the urgency of the skills crisis facing the nation, and the challenges particular to the Northern Territory, which is why this Agreement is so important.

“If we want to provide greater opportunity in the Northern Territory for secure and rewarding employment, we must be able to skill and reskill our workforce.

“Whether it’s a need to build our care sector, construction, hospitality and tourism, or technology and digital sectors, we need to deliver these skills at a time of acute skills shortages.

“I’m thrilled to make this joint investment to expand opportunities for all Northern Territorians.”

Quotes attributable to Minister for Business, Jobs and Training, Paul Kirby:

“The Territory Labor Government is working with the Federal Government, to show our commitment to skilling Territorians and improving our workforce. 

“We know how important access for students to these courses is, as well as for businesses to skilled workers, and this deal will help improve that access.

“The skills deal will help boost our skilled opportunities and will help meet our workforce shortfall in critical sectors.”

“The Territory Labor Government continues to have a large investment in skills, with one of the highest ratio of state allocated government funds for VET, and is substantially higher than the national average of 67 per cent.”

Quotes attributable to Charles Darwin University (CDU) Director VET Strategy and Growth, Michael Hamilton:

“Access to Fee-Free TAFE will be a game-changer, which will give more Territorians access to training and new careers and will deliver the skilled workers our fastest-growing industries need to boost the Territory’s economy.

“As the Territory’s largest vocational education and training provider, CDU is best placed to develop the Territory’s vocational education and training system and to ensure we have the workers we need to gain the skills and knowledge required to fill workforce gaps.

“The Northern Territory is facing skills shortages across a range of industries, the skills agreement will support the development of a skilled workforce to support Territory business and industries and secure our future.”