Release type: Speech


VETASSESS Allyship Conference


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

I begin by acknowledging the Wurundjeri people of the Kulin Nation, the Traditional Custodians of the land on which you are meeting today.

I pay my respects to their Elders past and present.

And I extend that respect to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

Australia is home to the world's oldest continuous living culture, and it’s also home to one of the world’s most diverse, multicultural populations.

I arrived here at the age of 6 with my parents.

Like others who came to this country, they wanted a better life for themselves and their family.

From my own direct experience, I know how positive migration can be.

But I also observe this positive impact in our communities, the economy, and our country.

Migrants have helped to build Australia into a strong country, and they will play a key role in its future.

The Albanese Government is building that future.

We are committed to a Future Made in Australia to secure our long-term economic prosperity and resilience.

We’ve committed to building 1.2 million new homes across the next 5 years and transitioning to a Net Zero economy by 2050.

We need skilled workers to achieve these ambitions.

Those trained domestically and skilled workers from overseas.

The 2023 Migration Review highlighted the challenges that migrants face in the current system when it comes to skills recognition.

In response, our Government’s Migration Strategy outlined the need to improve the approach to skills recognition and assessment to better unlock the potential of migrants.

There are people here on visas that have skills that could work in sectors of the economy, but they can’t get those skills recognised.

This is a waste.

These are people who could help build homes. Or decarbonise our economy.

So, if we can find a faster way of assessing people’s skills that are on visas in this country already, why wouldn’t we?

Our next step is implementing new standards for assessing authorities to produce the best outcomes for Australian employers and migrants alike.

And in our Budget, unveiled last week, we announced plans to prioritise the processing of around 2,600 Trades Recognition Australia skills assessments in targeted construction occupations.

We’re also streamlining skills assessments for around 1,900 potential migrants from countries with comparable qualifications who want to work in Australia’s housing and construction industry.

Engaging migrants is critical to meeting skills needs in Australia’s housing and construction sector.

During Budget week the Government also introduced new legislation to strengthen the integrity and sustainability of the international education sector.

This is the next step in delivering on the objectives of our Migration Strategy and is informed by engagement with the international education sector.

Last week we also released the draft International Education and Skills Strategic Framework.

This will support consultation with the sector on how to implement a system of sustainable, managed growth in international student enrolments.

Strengthening quality and integrity of the Vocational Education and Training sector is a priority for our government.

In March, legislation to crack down on dodgy VET providers passed Federal Parliament.

The new laws give the regulator, the Australian Skills and Quality Authority (ASQA) greater powers to remove non-genuine providers from the sector and keep them out.

The majority of providers do the right thing.

But we must ensure that those who don’t are removed to keep the quality of our VET sector intact.

The Albanese Government’s Future Made in Australia plan is built upon our people, our workers.

This plan will secure our long-term economic prosperity and resilience, building a country of which we can all be proud.

Leveraging the benefits of skilled migrant workforce will play a big part in achieving this goal.

Our Budget emphasised the value skilled migrant workers bring to a modern economy.

We are making an investment to prioritise skills assessments for more migrants wanting to work in the construction industry.

Which is where you come in.

You are on the frontlines every day, working with skilled migrants.

You know what is needed for assessments, and what is going to be needed into the future as we build an even stronger and more prosperous nation.

Thank you.