More cuts signal training decline

The Queensland Government cuts more training funds for the transport and logistics industry

More cuts signal training decline
Transport training waning

By Sean Muir | July 17, 2012

The Queensland transport and logistics sector has been dealt another blow with the announcement yesterday the Skilling Queenslanders for Work program, a primary funding source for industry training, would be axed.

The announcement follows the State Government’s decision to terminate Transport and Main Road’s [TMR] funding of Transform, the state’s transport and logistics industry skills body, by June 30, 2013.

The funding cuts spell the end of programs the State Government considers not ‘core business’, such as Transition 2012, credited with providing 400 new and existing workers the opportunity to up skill their heavy vehicle licences, and Ignition 2012, credited with providing 200 job seekers with the opportunity to retrain and obtain jobs in their local communities.

Led by the Transport and Logistics Workforce Advisory Group Queensland [TLWAG-Q], Transform consists of representatives from industry, government and Skills Queensland, including members from the rail freight, land freight and public transport sectors.

Funds allocated for the Skilling Queenslanders for Work program
are a
source of funding for TLWAG-Q, through Transform.

It is understood
that Transform has accessed this funding on behalf of
TLWAG-Q since 2008, providing hundreds of job seekers with a pathway into the transport and logistics industry.

With two primary sources of funding – the TMR funding and the Skilling Queenslanders for Work funding – now unavailable, hopes are fading that industry pressure might inspire the retention of a Transform-like body.

TLWAG-Q member, Queensland Bus Industry Council executive director David Tape, says the Newman Government’s funding cuts are ‘disappointing’.

"This has been a great partnership with industry over the past few years with the delivery of some excellent initiatives," Tape says.

"The Transport and Logistics sector, whether it is passenger, freight or waste management, is an enormous contributor and essential element of our economy, both at the state and federal levels."

Tape says the training initiatives have been so successful that the industry is now investigating alternative avenues of funding.

"The TLWAG concept and existing framework is too important and critical to lose, and as such the TLWAG group is developing models which would enable it to be extracted from government and placed within the private sector," Tape says.

"We will need to work hard and hopefully in cooperation with government to achieve this.

"This is the challenge we now face."

State Education, Training and Employment Minister John-Paul Langbroek says the Federal Government already funds employment support programs at an annual cost of $1.8 billion and Queensland cannot afford the $19 million to run the Skilling Queenslanders for Work program.

"Employment services are the responsibility of the Federal Government and given the diabolical economic damage caused by the Bligh Labor Government, we need to end this type of needless duplication" Langbroek says.

"Queensland was the only state in the country that contributed to separate employment programs on top of those already in place by the Federal Government."

Langbroek calls on the Federal Government and industry to continue to provide effective job readiness programs.

"The Newman Government is trying hard to protect public service jobs and has committed to cutting waste and inefficiency without affecting front line services," he says.

"Skilling Queenslanders for Work programs are not front line positions and we are committed to keeping our election promise that no font line positions will be affected.

"We are working hard to repair Labor’s destructive legacy as Queensland heads towards a $100 billion debt. That’s why difficult decisions need to be made."

Langbroek says the
cuts are not made lightly.

"Hardworking Queensland taxpayers simply cannot afford to continue funding duplicated training and preparation programs," Langbroek says.

"All 144 full time equivalent staff will be offered voluntary redundancies, vacant positions in the department, or will be put on the deployment list to be placed in other departments.

"I am committed to improving Education, Training and Employment services and will ensure any staff who leave the department are offered their full entitlements."

TMR was contracted in 2006 by the then-Department of Education and Training, now Skills Queensland, to provide the services of a transport and logistics skills body for Queensland.

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