Save our skills

CCIWA has welcomed the Liberal Party’s support for the training of WA’s future workforce by voting against the State Government’s proposed payroll tax exemption changes.

A recently released CCI paper outlined the detrimental impact that the Government’s policy shift – removing the Payroll Tax Exemption for all existing employees and restricting it to new employees earning less than $100,000 – will have on WA’s already declining trainee enrolments and employers’ ability to upskill and retrain their workers to stay at the cutting edge.

CCI Chief Economist Rick Newnham says this is flawed policy that leaves businesses to do the heavy lifting on upskilling and reskilling the WA workforce while the Government walks away without a plan.

“If the Government was really concerned about the already declining state of training in WA, they wouldn’t be making policy on the run and leaving businesses with no detail about what their proposed grants scheme will look like,” Newnham says.

Newnham says the Government is attempting to overhaul a system without a proper plan when a minor tweak could solve the problem.

“Our training data shows that more than two-thirds of businesses with trainees in WA are small to medium sized enterprises,” he says.

“If the Government is serious about diversifying the WA economy, then its training policy shouldn’t be designed to maximise tax revenue – it should be to train WA workers. Industry can’t afford for a policy vacuum to be created until July 2019 while the Government takes a vacation to consider their options.

“This will hit workers in regional WA and older employees particularly hard. Studies show that the jobs of older workers are most at risk of losing their jobs to automation and AI if they are not supported by constant upskilling.

“WA workers with 20th century skills can no longer compete in this digital world, and neither can the businesses in which they work. Forty per cent of jobs in Australia are at risk of being automated within a couple of decades, which means constant retraining is required as automation and AI become the norm.

“CCI Members have told us that the Payroll Tax Exemption forms a critical part of their adaptation to the end of the mining construction boom, and without it more jobs would have been lost. If removed, they will be forced to reduce the number of trainees they can take on or stop training altogether.

“CCI is calling on the Upper House to block the Government’s payroll tax exemption changes to ensure businesses can continue to upskill their workforce instead of losing jobs to AI and automation.”

►Help CCI stop this reckless Government policy so the crossbench can block the bill in the Upper House of Parliament. Click here to help SAVE OUR SKILLS.

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