Delivering seasonal labour solutions for farmers in Queensland

The Australian Government is investing $33.7 million to support farmers by encouraging and incentivising Australians to take a ‘domestic gap year’ and eligible temporary visa holders to work in the agriculture sector this coming harvest season.

Federal Member for Bonner Ross Vasta MP said Queensland’s agriculture sector was facing unprecedented pressure on labour supply as a result of COVID-19.

“Through the 2020 Budget, the Liberal Nationals are investing $17.4 million in relocation support and $16.3 million in temporary Youth Allowance and ABSTUDY eligibility changes to incentivise people to take up seasonal farm work this summer,” Mr Vasta said.

“Relocation allowances of up to $6000 for Australians and up to $2000 for eligible visa holders will be available from 1 November to undertake seasonal work in agriculture.

“Under the Youth Allowance and ABSTUDY new criteria, a person who earns $15,000 through employment in the agricultural sector in regional Australia between 30 November 2020 and 31 December 2021 will be considered as independent for the purpose of YA (student) or ABSTUDY.

“This will significantly reduce the time needed for a young person to gain ‘independent’ status and claim Youth Allowance or ABSTUDY faster than under the existing criteria.

“These changes will support critical food production in Queensland so farm produce does not go to waste and will help ensure the agricultural sector continues to play a key role in our local community’s economic recovery.”

From 1 November 2020, relocation assistance will be available to people who relocate to harvest and regional areas to take up at least six weeks of agricultural work, including Australians who are not receiving income support and those with the right to work in Australia.

The Australian Government is also investing a further $9 million in the Seasonal Worker Program (SWP) to ensure employers can meet critical seasonal labour needs.

This funding will help ensure that the SWP has the resources to accommodate the significant growth of the program and ensure appropriate oversight of the program is in place to protect the welfare of workers.

The Australian Government has been working with farmers since the onset of COVID-19. Measures already introduced to fill labour shortages in the agriculture sector:

  • providing visa extensions to allow temporary visa holders already here to continue to work in agriculture and for agriculture workers to stay with one employer for a longer period,
  • initiating a targeted recruitment trial under the Seasonal Worker Program (SWP) to meet labour needs of Northern Territory mango growers which saw 162 experienced workers arrive from Vanuatu to help with the harvest;
  • announcing on 21 August the recommencement of targeted recruitment under the Pacific Labour Scheme and SWP to help meet the workforce needs of critical sectors, including agriculture.

In addition to the measures already rolled out to date, and announced in the budget, we are continuing to look at how we can support our agriculture sector by ensuring they have access to the workers they need now and into the future through the development of the National Agriculture Workforce Strategy.

We have also delivered a National Agriculture Workers’ Code to provide for the COVID-safe travel between states – five of eight Australian jurisdictions have implemented it except for Queensland, Western Australia and Tasmania.

More information on the additional support being provided can be found at:

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Transforming our manufacturing industry to grow jobs in Bonner

The Morrison Government is launching a new era of Australian manufacturing, as part of our JobMaker Plan to rebuild the economy, create jobs in Bonner and recover from the COVID-19 recession.

The $1.5 billion Modern Manufacturing Strategy will make Australian manufacturers more competitive, resilient and able to scale-up to take on the world, while ensuring our nation is more secure.

“Our Modern Manufacturing Strategy is exciting news for the 513 local manufacturing businesses and the 4651 locals they employ,” Federal Member for Bonner Ross Vasta MP said.

“Importantly, it will create new jobs in Bonner both now and into the future.”

Mr Vasta said the Government was charting a course to ensure manufacturers right across the country could seize the opportunities to grow into new and emerging local and global markets.

“Manufacturers are central to our economic recovery and they have capabilities that underpin so many other industries and support businesses in my electorate right along the supply chain,” Mr Vasta said.

“As a Government, we’re determined to play to our strengths and ensure we are strategically investing in areas where we have an edge.”

Minister for Industry, Science and Technology Karen Andrews said this strategy draws on what we have learned during the COVID-19 crisis but has also been developed following extensive work with industry before the pandemic.

“Our manufacturers have risen to the challenge to deliver during COVID-19 and now, we’re unlocking their potential to deliver for our future,” Minister Andrews said.

“By playing to our strengths, strategically investing and boosting the role of science and technology in industry, we can open up new markets and take more of our quality products to the world.

“This Strategy sends a clear signal that not only is Australia open for business, but we mean business.”

The centrepiece of the Strategy is the $1.3 billion Modern Manufacturing Initiative (MMI), which will see the Government strategically invest in projects that help manufacturers to scale up and create jobs.

The MMI will support projects within six National Manufacturing Priorities;

  • Resources technology and critical minerals processing
  • Food and beverage
  • Medical products
  • Recycling and clean energy
  • Defence
  • Space

Industry will be engaged to help develop tailored road maps for each of the priority sectors.

The Strategy will also address the competitiveness of individual manufacturers in our priority sectors, with a $52.8 million expansion of the Manufacturing Modernisation Fund.

“At the last election we announced the Manufacturing Modernisation Fund, which has delivered support for 200 projects across the nation, including Crystalaid at Tingalpa, and I’m very pleased we are now expanding it to help more local businesses boost their production,” Mr Vasta said.

“There’s been a real groundswell of support for Australian-made recently because we all know buying Australian made supports local jobs.

“Our plan to scale up will mean more Australian made products on the shelves and more jobs in our local community.”

The COVID-19 crisis has also highlighted supply chain issues and opportunities. A $107.2 million Supply Chain Resilience Initiative will support projects that address an identified supply chain vulnerability.

Innovation and Science Australia will be repurposed as Industry Innovation and Science Australia, to provide strong industry advice to Government throughout the implementation of the Strategy.

This strategy builds on the work across Government to improve economic conditions for business, including streamlining regulation, cutting red tape and cutting input costs. A key part of that will be cutting energy costs as outlined in the Gas-fired recovery statement on 15 September 2020.

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Morrison Government backs small business to go digital

As part of its $800 million JobMaker Digital Business Plan, the Morrison Government is encouraging and supporting more Australian small businesses to digitise, so they can compete, succeed and create job opportunities as we emerge from the COVID-19 crisis.

This includes an expansion of the Australian Small Business Advisory Service (ASBAS) Digital Solutions program.

Minister for Employment, Skills, Small and Family Business Senator the Hon Michaelia Cash said since its inception in 2018, the ASBAS Digital Solutions program has supported small businesses through low-cost, independent, expert and tailored advice to small businesses.

“The expansion of this service means a further 10,000 Australian businesses will be able to these services, enabling them to take advantage of emerging opportunities in the digital economy now and in the future,” Minister Cash said.

Businesses will be able to receive information and advice on:

  • Websites and selling online.
  • Social media and digital marketing.
  • Using small business software.
  • Online security and data privacy.
  • Business crisis management and business continuity planning.
  • Finance management and boosting cash flow.
  • Staff management and creating a safe work environment.
  • Retaining and staying connected to customers.
  • Resilience and wellbeing.

Federal Member for Bonner Ross Vasta MP said many businesses moved online quickly when the pandemic hit, undergoing a decade of change in months, finding new customers or new ways of doing things.

“Our JobMaker Digital Business Plan provides significant backing to continue that digital push and expand opportunities for businesses to grow and create more jobs,” Mr Vasta said.

The Australian Small Business Advisory Service – Digital Solutions program is available to small businesses with fewer than 20 full-time (or equivalent) employees, as well as sole traders.

The service is available across all metropolitan and regional areas.

Further information on accessing the program is available at or 13 28 46.

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‘Your Career’ website to help Australians into training and jobs

Australians will now benefit from a new one-stop-shop career information website with the launch of the ‘Your Career’ website.

The first release of the ‘Your Career’ website designed by the National Careers Institute will help people of all ages plan, navigate and manage their careers.

The website will serve as Australia’s authoritative source of careers information as part of the Australian Government’s priority to get people back in to work.

Federal Member for Bonner Ross Vasta MP said as the nation deals with COVID-19 and the impact on the economy, it was important Australians had access to reliable and accurate labour market data, and information on the skilling or re-training options available to them.

“This website provides access to information about how to transfer their skills to jobs in demand, upskill, retrain or start a plan for longer-term goals,” Mr Vasta said.

“The ‘Your Career’ website delivers on that need because it is driven by world-leading labour market intelligence from the National Skills Commission.

“Australians can use this site to explore their future career options, or to look for options they can pursue now – either local employment opportunities, or short-term study options.”

Given the changing nature of the labour market, ‘Your Career’ will continue to evolve to enable all Australians to take the next step in their career using tailored careers information.

Key features of Your Career include:

  • career quizzes to explore jobs that match a person’s skills, interests and goals
  • information about study or training options to gain new skills, upskill, or reskill
  • information to help with a successful job search including resumé writing
  • links to support services to help find employment, manage wellbeing and understand rights at work, and
  • an A to Z of occupations, including detailed career descriptions, pay and available jobs.

The ‘Your Career’ website can be found at

For more information about the National Careers Institute, visit

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Funding new apprentices and trainees in Bonner

The Morrison Government will invest an additional $1.2 billion to support Australian businesses to employ 100,000 new apprentices and trainees as part of our COVID-19 economic recovery plan.

Starting 5 October 2020, businesses who take on a new Australian apprentice will be eligible for a 50 per cent wage subsidy, regardless of geographic location, occupation, industry or business size.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said apprenticeships and traineeships were an important pathway to get young people into jobs and to ensure there is a skills pipeline to meet the future needs of employers.

“During this pandemic the Federal Government has been focused on supporting and creating jobs as well as identifying the skills we need in the economic rebuild,” the Prime Minister said.

Federal Member for Bonner Ross Vasta MP said whether it be manufacturing, housing and construction, arts or mining sectors – this new wage subsidy gave businesses certainty to hire and provides a career path to young school leavers or others looking for an apprenticeship or traineeship.

“This new wage subsidy will provide school leavers and job seekers in Bonner with a real opportunity to upskill and reskill through an apprenticeship or a traineeship,” Mr Vasta said.

The subsidy will be available to employers of any size or industry, Australia-wide who engage an Australian apprentice or trainee from 5 October 2020 until the 100,000 cap is reached.

Under the new measure, employers will be eligible for the wage subsidy for a new or recommencing apprentice or trainee for the period up to 30 September 2021, up to $7,000 per quarter.

Minister for Employment, Skills, Small and Family Business, Senator the Hon Michaelia Cash said the measure builds on the existing $2.8 billion Supporting Apprentices and Trainees wage subsidy that is helping employers to retain their apprentices and trainees.

“The Australian Government has already invested significantly to ensure that apprentices are retained where possible and supported to re-engage if they lose their job,” Minister Cash said.

Assistant Minister for Vocational Education, Training and Apprenticeships, the Hon Steve Irons MP, said the new measures we are announcing today will build on the already significant investment to support apprentices and trainees.

“Through the existing Supporting Apprentices and Trainees measure, as many as 90,000 businesses employing around 180,000 apprentices throughout Australia will continue to be supported,” Assistant Minister Irons said.

More information on the measure is available at

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Reforms to support small business recovery in Bonner

The Morrison Government will undertake the most significant reforms to Australia’s insolvency framework in 30 years as part of our economic recovery plan to keep businesses in business and Australians in jobs.

The reforms, which draw on key features from Chapter 11 of the Bankruptcy Code in the United States, will help more small businesses restructure and survive the economic impact of COVID-19.

Federal Member for Bonner Ross Vasta MP said the reforms would give more support to the region’s businesses that had been hit hard by the coronavirus.

“The Morrison Government is standing by small and family businesses and doing all we can to help make sure these businesses come out on the other side of this crisis,” Mr Vasta said.

“Along with early access to super, cash-flow boosts and JobKeeper, we are doing everything we can to keep family businesses up and running.”

As the economy continues to recover, it will be critical that distressed businesses have the necessary flexibility to either restructure or to wind down their operations in an orderly manner.

The reforms will assist incorporated businesses with less than $1 million in liabilities covering around 76 per cent of Australian businesses subject to insolvencies today, 98 per cent of which have less than 20 employees.

Together, these measures will reposition our insolvency system to reduce costs for small businesses, reduce the time they spend during the insolvency process, ensure greater economic dynamism, and ultimately help more local businesses get to the other side of the crisis.

Earlier this year the Morrison Government announced temporary regulatory measures to help financially distressed businesses get to the other side of COVID-19. On 7 September 2020 the Government announced a further extension of this relief to 31 December 2020.

The new processes will be available for small businesses from 1 January 2021.

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More skills training for Queenslanders

Queensland school leavers and job seekers will benefit from increased access to free or low-fee skills training under a significant investment through the JobTrainer Agreement to be rolled out across Queensland.

Minister for Employment, Skills, Small and Family Business Senator the Hon Michaelia Cash said strengthening Australia’s skills and training system was a priority as the nation responded to COVID-19.

The $1 billion JobTrainer program will provide up to an additional 340,700 training places across the country for school leavers and help upskill and retrain jobseekers in areas of demand.

“JobTrainer is central to Australia’s recovery from COVID-19. It will provide Australians with new opportunities and skills to get a job” Minister Cash said.

“It is a significant joint investment by the Commonwealth and State and Territory Governments.”

The Queensland agreement will inject an extra $201 million into the state’s vocational education and training sector.

The Australian Government will contribute $100.5 million, which will be matched dollar-for-dollar by the Queensland Government.

Federal Member for Bonner Ross Vasta MP said this was a fantastic result for Queensland which would greatly assist job seekers and young people, especially school leavers.

“The JobTrainer Fund will help lift Queensland as the state recovers from COVID-19,” Mr Vasta said.

“I have spoken to a lot of young people concerned about what the future holds and to provide more skills training opportunity will provide some certainty and confidence our economy will get back on track and there will be jobs for young people.”

Minister Cash said JobTrainer was part of the Australian Government’s $6.5 billion investment in Vocational Education and Training in 2020-21.

“As part of this investment the Commonwealth is also providing additional support with the Supporting Apprentices and Trainees (SAT) wage subsidy, which has provided more than $500 million to employers across Australia since April this year.

“As part of the SAT the Government has invested $102.89 million to assist 10,461 employers to retain 17,290 apprentices and trainees in Queensland.”

For more information about JobTrainer visit:

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National Skills Week highlights critical role of vocational education and training

National Skills Week 2020 will focus on the critical role the vocational education and training (VET) sector has in the nation’s economic recovery from COVID-19.

As a part of the Morrison Government’s economic response to COVID-19, we have committed a further $3.3 billion to skills, including funding the creation of an additional 340,700 VET training places in areas of demand.

The Government’s reforms and investments in the VET sector will strongly assist our economic recovery.

Minister for Employment, Skills, Small and Family Business, Senator the Hon Michaelia Cash said National Skills Week was an opportunity for people to think about their career and consider where vocational education and training could take them.

“In response to the impacts of COVID-19, the Morrison Government is investing an additional $3.3 billion to give hundreds of thousands of Australians access to upskilling opportunities, rollout critical infection control training and keep apprentices and trainees connected to work,” Minister Cash said.

“Our JobTrainer Fund is an investment of $500 million from the Commonwealth Government, matched by the State and Territory Governments and providing around 340,700 additional free or low-cost training places.”

Federal Member for Bonner Ross Vasta MP said National Skills Week was also about recognizing the valuable work of our vocational education and training sector, as it responds quickly to COVID-19 and helps set up our economic recovery.

“We have some great local training organisations in Bonner committed to supporting people to change career paths and even upskill and now is definitely the time to do it,” Mr Vasta said.

Assistant Minister for Vocational Education, Training and Apprenticeships, the Hon Steve Irons MP said additional investment was being made to support the nation’s apprentices and their employers through this challenging environment.

“The Supporting Apprentices and Trainees wage subsidy is being expanded and extended so that it can support almost 90,000 businesses employing around 180,000 apprentices throughout Australia,” Assistant Minister Irons said.

For more information about National Skills Week activities and virtual events across Australia visit

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893 jobs on offer at Brisbane Logan Virtual Jobs Fair

More than 893 jobs, including 12 apprenticeships will be on offer at the Brisbane South East and Logan Virtual Jobs fair tomorrow (Friday, August 7).

Minister for Employment, Skills, Small and Family Business, Senator the Hon Michaelia Cash said the Brisbane South East and Logan virtual jobs fair was an opportunity for those looking for work to see what employment opportunities were available in their area.

“As we continue to face the challenges of COVID-19, it’s important to support Australians to find employment and access training opportunities,” Minister Cash said.

“Funded by the Australian Government, jobs fairs connect local employers with local job seekers.

“The Brisbane South East and Logan virtual jobs fair will bring together job seekers and more than 27 local businesses, promoting local job opportunities available in the south-east Queensland area.

The Australian Government has held jobs fairs around Australia, with more than 31,500 people attending events over the past two years.

Federal Member for Bonner Ross Vasta MP said the Virtual Jobs Fair was an excellent opportunity for local people to get online for this free event and chat with employers and employment service providers about potential career pathways.

“This jobs fair is a must for anyone who wants to connect with businesses currently recruiting, and I encourage people in our community to take advantage of all the information that will be available,” Mr Vasta said

“Job seekers can also listen in to expert workshops to hear about strategies to improve their job search, find useful resources to help improve résumés and prepare for interviews.”

The Brisbane South East and Logan Jobs Fair is a free online event from 9.30am to 1.30pm on Friday, 7 August 2020.  Registrations are required and can be made at

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$2 Billion skills package to deliver economic growth in Bonner

The Morrison Government will invest $2 billion to give hundreds of thousands of Australians access to new skills by retraining and upskilling them into sectors with job opportunities.

The new JobTrainer skills package will also guarantee support for tens of thousands of apprentices in jobs across Australia, including the Bonner electorate, by subsidising their wages to keep them employed and training secured.

The new $1 billion JobTrainer Fund will provide up to an additional 340,700 training places across Australia to help school leavers and job seekers access pre-apprenticeships, short courses and full qualifications to develop new skills in growth sectors and create a pathway to more qualifications.

Courses will be free or low cost in areas of identified need, with the Federal Government providing $500 million with contributions matched by State and Territory Governments.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the JobTrainer skills package was focused on getting people into jobs.

“JobTrainer will ensure more Australians have the chance to reskill or upskill to fill the jobs on the other side of this crisis,” the Prime Minister said.

“COVID-19 is unprecedented, but I want Australians to be ready for the sorts of jobs that will come as we build back and recover.”

The package also includes an additional $1.5 billion to expand the wage incentive to help keep apprentices in work, which builds on the initial $1.3 billion package announced in March.

In addition to small businesses already covered, the wage subsidy will now be available to medium businesses with less than 200 employees for apprentices employed as at 1 July 2020.

Around 180,000 apprentices and 90,000 small and medium businesses employing them will now be supported, with the program extended by six months to March 2021.

The initiative covers 50 per cent of the wages paid to apprentices and trainees, up to $7000 per quarter.

Minister for Employment, Skills, Small and Family Business Michaelia Cash said the JobTrainer skills package would form a vital part of the national recovery efforts.

“Our nation has faced many challenges, and it is critical we keep our apprentices in jobs and help those looking for work,” Minister Cash said.

“This package will be essential as the economy rebuilds so people looking for work can reskill and upskill for in-demand jobs, provide school leavers with a pathway into their careers, and ensure businesses are able to get the skilled workers they need.”

Assistant Minister for Vocational Education, Training and Apprenticeships Steve Irons said the expanded wage subsidy would more than double the number of supported apprentices and trainees.

“The Supporting Apprentices and Trainees wage subsidy will now help almost 90,000 businesses employing around 180,000 apprentices and trainees throughout Australia,” Assistant Minister Irons said.

“This will dramatically improve the viability of tens of thousands of apprenticeships and the businesses employing them right across the country.”

Federal Member for Bonner Ross Vasta MP said the Skills Package would provide a much-needed boost to jobseekers and school leavers in his electorate to ensure jobseekers were trained in the skills needed by our local businesses community.

“Backing training, apprentices, and jobs is all part of the Morrison Government’s plan to restore our economy after the coronavirus pandemic and keep Australians in our local area in work.,” Mr Vasta said.

States and territories need to sign up to a new Heads of Agreement to access JobTrainer funding, with the agreement setting out immediate reforms to improve the vocational education and training sector, and providing the foundation for long term improvements as outlined by the Prime Minister in his recent speech to the National Press Club.

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