Chapter 2Views on the bill
2.1In November 2022, an interim Jobs and Skills Australia (JSA) agency was established as a priority response to tight labour market conditions and acute skills shortages in Australia. As outlined in the Senate Education and Employment Legislation Committee's report of its inquiry into JSA's establishing legislation, Australia's skills and labour shortages have become increasingly critical, exacerbated by both the COVID-19 pandemic and the absence of a coordinated approach to skills and workforce planning.
2.2The Jobs and Skills Australia Amendment Bill 2023 (bill) delivers on the Australian Government's (government's) commitment to fully establish JSA by legislating JSA's full range of functions and governance mechanisms, including embedding a tripartite approach to its operations. The Department of Employment and Workplace Relations (DEWR) submission to the inquiry notes that the proposed amendments to the Jobs and Skills Australia Act 2022 reflect more than six months of consultation with more than 200 individual stakeholders.
2.3This chapter explores the considerable support for the bill and examines key issues raised by participants in relation to JSA's governance and functions.
Broad support for the bill
2.4There was overwhelming stakeholder support for the permanent establishment of JSA, which was described as 'crucial' and 'an opportunity to move away from the bureaucratic control of skills planning'. JSA was also viewed as playing 'a vital role' in understanding Australia's 'whole-of-economy skills and workforce challenges', having 'the potential to drive a strategic and forward facing agenda', and providing 'a long-awaited solution' to Australia's 'reactionary and inconsistent' responses to labour market challenges. Accordingly, the majority of participants welcomed (or did not oppose) the amendments proposed in the bill, while others were explicit in recommending that it be passed.
2.5There was particular support from industry for the bill's intent to embed a tripartite approach to JSA's operations via the establishment of a Ministerial Advisory Board, which would involve the appointment of an equal number of employer and employee organisation representatives.
2.6Various stakeholders also acknowledged the extensive consultation that informed development of the bill. For example, the Business Council of Australia (BCA) expressed appreciation for the 'deep and genuine consultation undertaken by the government on this legislation'. Similarly, Universities Australia welcomed the creation of JSA and commended the government and the Minister for Skills and Training (Minister) on:
… the thorough consultation that was undertaken in the development of JSA's establishing legislation, and the consultation that continues on the work that JSA will undertake.
2.7To this end, a range of submitters such as the Ai Group, National Electrical and Communications Association (NECA), Adult Learning Australia and the Minerals Council of Australia (MCA) expressed a desire to remain involved in JSA's development and activities.
2.8In a similar vein, the Independent Tertiary Education Council Australia (ITECA) emphasised the importance of ongoing engagement by JSA as 'critical' to aligning JSA's work with stakeholder needs and priorities. ITECA also contended that strong stakeholder engagement practices would facilitate a collaborative approach to identifying and addressing 'potential barriers or challenges to the successful implementation of JSA's policies and programs'.
2.9While welcoming the bill, some stakeholders suggested further amendments or clarifications, with the majority of these relating to JSA's proposed governance arrangements. However, most participants proposing amendments still supported passage of the bill. For example, while seeking clarification on aspects of the bill, the Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU) also asserted that it had 'no major concerns' and encouraged the Senate 'to ensure its swift passage'.
2.10Similarly, both the BCA and the Ai Group suggested improvements to the bill but stated they were looking forward to its passage. Indeed, the BCA expressed the view that 'the legislation should be passed as soon as possible so that JSA can continue its important work'. This view was reinforced by Mr Troy Williams, Chief Executive, ITECA and Ms Jenny Dodd, Chief Executive Officer (CEO), TAFE Directors Australia (TDA), who indicated that the bill should be passed, regardless of the success of the amendments they had put forward.
2.11In addition, it was noted by DEWR that 'the mechanisms to establish JSA on an ongoing basis are not limited to legislation'; rather, its functions and governance 'will also be established in detail in its ongoing operations, and consultation protocols'.
2.12Stakeholder support for passage of the bill was strengthened by the requirement for a review of JSA to begin within two years of commencement—a provision welcomed by several submitters, including the University of Canberra, the National Farmers' Federation (NFF), Ai Group, the Regional Universities Network (RUN) and the MCA, which pointed to the review as an opportunity to identify and address any potential flaws in JSA's governance or functions.
2.13While there was some support for completing—rather than commencing—the review within two years, participants rejected the suggestion that the review should be brought forward by 12 months, noting this was 'an impossibly short timeframe' that would not provide enough evidence to assess JSA's effectiveness. This view was summed up by Mr Peter Chesworth, Deputy Chief Executive, Universities Australia:
We welcome the fact that there is a review mechanism in place, but based on my personal experience, even two years is an ambitious time frame. Our preference would be to allow the new structures to have some run way in place so that some actual, real outcomes could be identified and we'd be able to see where it's working and where improvements could be made.
2.14In addition, the ACTU cautioned that a review in 12 months 'would distract from the work that needs to happen in terms of getting a chance for the system to bed itself down, build the machinery that's required and implement what is now critically urgent work'.
2.15Overall, this aligned with feedback provided to DEWR during its consultations, which indicated that 'a shorter review period would not provide enough time to assess whether the permanent model of JSA is providing the outcomes government has set for the body'.
Key issues raised by stakeholders
2.16Although there was broad support for the bill, stakeholders raised a number of issues for consideration or further amendment. The majority of the issues related to JSA's governance arrangements, in particular:
the independence of JSA;
the composition of the Ministerial Advisory Board; and
the need for greater clarity about the relationship between JSA and the Jobs and Skills Councils.
2.17While most stakeholder commentary related to JSA's governance arrangements, some stakeholders also provided feedback and recommendations in relation to JSA's functions.
Independence of JSA
2.18While generally supportive of the bill, some stakeholders expressed a preference for JSA to be established as an independent agency, rather than a secondary statutory body within DEWR. For example, the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI) referred to its previously stated position that JSA 'should be an independent statutory body governed by a multi-disciplinary, independently chaired Board'. Both the ACCI and ITECA also pointed to the government's original expectation that JSA would be an independent body modelled on Infrastructure Australia.
2.19However, the ACCI noted that budget constraints had prevented the establishment of JSA as an independent body. This was confirmed by DEWR, which explained that establishing JSA as a secondary statutory body would strike 'a balance between independence and the expense of establishing a new portfolio body'. The cost of establishing JSA as a standalone agency was also acknowledged by the NFF:
… while establishing a new and distinct agency would be the preferred approach, we accept that this would come at considerable cost to the public, a cost which may not be palatable or sustainable in the current budgetary environment.
2.20Despite its preference for a standalone agency, the NFF did not oppose the establishment of JSA as a secondary statutory body. However, it suggested the proposed review in 2025 should consider how well JSA's independence had been maintained. On this basis, the NFF stated that it would 'accept the position which the government has taken, at least for the interim'. A similar sentiment was expressed by the ACCI, which hoped the review of JSA would provide an 'opportunity to revisit the independence of the structure'.
2.21Further, the NFF expressed its hope that transparency mechanisms, such as the publication of an annual workplan, and the role of the Ministerial Advisory Board, would 'enable—and even require—JSA to maintain a level of independence'.
2.22To this end, DEWR explained that secondary statutory bodies are 'designed to facilitate independent advice' and that a Memorandum of Understanding between DEWR and JSA would provide further delineation of their roles and responsibilities. DEWR also stressed that the advice provided by JSA would be 'made independently, under its own legislation, which makes it clear that the Minister for Skills and Training must not give direction about the content of JSA's advice'.
2.23In addition, Ms Danielle Finnigan, Assistant Secretary of the Skills System and International Branch with DEWR, confirmed that—in line with the government’s election commitment—the governance arrangements for Infrastructure Australia were considered by DEWR in implementing the JSA. Ms Finnigan observed that just as with Infrastructure Australia, JSA would be headed by a statutory officer holder, would provide independent advice, and the relevant minister would be prohibited in giving directions about the content of JSA’s advice. Ms Finnigan explained that in developing the final governance model for JSA, DEWR have:
… tried to strike a balance between the two infrastructure models, acknowledging some key differences between what JSA will be delivering and what Infrastructure Australia will be delivering. While JSA will provide advice to government in relation to skills and labour market needs, it does not propose to evaluate policy or program responses. That's to remain the responsibility of relevant portfolio agencies. In contrast, Infrastructure Australia is around evaluating and prioritising infrastructure projects and initiatives and guiding infrastructure investments…
Composition of the Ministerial Advisory Board
2.24There was significant support for the creation of the Ministerial Advisory Board (the Board) which, according to DEWR, would 'strengthen tripartite leadership' and represent a broad range of interests. For example, the ACTU welcomed the Board as a 'commitment to industry leadership in skills', while the BCA described the Board's composition as a reflection of 'the government's commitment to genuine tripartite consultation through JSA'.
2.25In response to suggestions that the quota for union membership be removed, various stakeholders, including the ACCI, Ai Group and BCA reiterated their support for equal representation of employers and employees as part of the tripartite approach to JSA's operations.
2.26The long-standing nature of the commitment to tripartism was highlighted by Ms Megan Lilly, Head of Education and Training, Ai Group, who noted that 'in every step … we have been committed to the tripartite approach, which has also now emerged in the legislation and we stand by it'. A similar view was expressed by the ACCI:
… from the very beginning—when the Prime Minister was opposition leader he stated that he had a vision for Jobs and Skills Australia and that it would be a tripartite organisation. ACCI has always worked on that basis, that that would be the final form of the organisation, so we support that.
2.27Mr Scott Connolly, Assistant Secretary, ACTU, went further and stressed the importance of union representation, both in terms of the commitment to a tripartite approach and in order to avoid repeating past mistakes:
We can't say we have a tripartite system and then not have one. I think the fundamental problem … and one of the mistakes we've made historically … is the removal of union voices from this system. That's been addressed by this government, and it's been addressed with the full support of industry. We think that's appropriate, and to step away from that would be to remake the mistakes of the past.
2.28There was also support for the proposal to allow the formation of sub-committees, which could be either standing or short-term in nature and would present further opportunities for stakeholder engagement with JSA. For example, Mr Connolly of the ACTU described the subcommittee structure as 'critical' to supporting responses to both immediate and longer-term skills crises—such as the clean energy and foundational skills work already underway at JSA—as well as providing a focus on particular governance issues, such as budgeting.
2.29Likewise, both the NECA and the ACCI saw a role for subcommittees and suggested the formation of an apprenticeship advisory group, while ITECA recommended that the subcommittees include a state and territory advisory group, as well as a Commonwealth advisory group.
2.30In addition to participants advocating for inclusion in the Board's membership, the two primary issues raised in relation to the Board's composition were:
the need for education and training provider representation on the Board; and
concerns about the potential impact of the four unspecified Board positions.
Education and training provider representation
2.31A number of stakeholders argued for the inclusion of education and training provider representatives on the Board. For example, TDA reasoned that the Board's membership should be 'representative of the complex system that it has been set up to serve' and that the voices of education providers would offer 'an important balance with employer groups and unions'.
2.32This view was supported by the ACCI, which stated it would be critical for the Board to include a representative 'with an understanding of training delivery from the provider perspective'. Likewise, the Tasmania University Law Society cautioned against taking a 'purely market-based view of education and training' without considering the practical impact on educational institutions.
2.33For Mr Chesworth of Universities Australia, the inclusion of education and training sector representatives would also position the Board to provide the Minister with the best possible advice:
That is best achieved by having not only employers well represented there but also the skills providers well represented there. … Australia's 39 universities stand ready to provide the skilled workforce that Australia needs.
2.34The desired number of education and training sector representatives ranged from one to three. For example, Universities Australia, the ATN, and Women in Vocational and Adult Education and the Equality Rights Alliance (WAVE & ERA) recommended the inclusion of at least two education and training representatives, while ITECA advocated for three specific members:
Logically these would be ITECA and TAFE Directors Australia (both organisations have a predominately … skills training membership but also represent dual sector providers) and Universities Australia.
2.35In addition to dedicated representation on the Board, Universities Australia also recommended that 'universities' be included as a specific area of experience or knowledge relevant to eligibility for Board appointments.
2.36While not disputing the need for training provider representation, other stakeholders contended that the bill already allowed for this. For example, the MCA argued that the bill would provide:
… a strong foundation for an advisory board reflective of the broader tertiary landscape and whole-economy focus of JSA functions—for example, representation from education and training providers (both from higher education and vocational education and training)—under s. 16B(1)(e).
2.37However, other stakeholders, such as the Ai Group and BCA emphasised the importance of maintaining industry as the primary voice on the JSA Board. This view was shared by the ACTU, which acknowledged the importance of the 'interoperability of the systems' but also noted that care should be taken not to overweight the influence of education and training providers given they are also 'key financial beneficiaries of this system'.
Unspecified Board positions
2.38Various stakeholders supported the inclusion of the four additional Board members and suggested how these positions could be utilised. For example, the Australian College of Nursing proposed the appointment of a First Nations representative, while the ACTU advocated for the inclusion of a voice for small business, and the RUN encouraged proportionate representation of regional and education sector interests. Similarly, the NFF indicated a preference for the farming sector to be 'featured within the JSA's legislative framework'—although it also noted that the bill would not prevent the concerns of the sector being addressed.
2.39Mr Troy Williams, Chief Executive, ITECA, agreed with the need for regional representation on the Board and highlighted the importance of engaging with those who have experience delivering training in regional and remote locations. To this end, Mr Williams also proposed the appointment of the Regional Education Commissioner to the Board.
2.40Other stakeholders observed that representation of certain sectors or locations could be achieved in ways other than direct appointment. For example, in response to suggestions that the Board include a regional membership quota, Ms Jenny Dodd, CEO, TDA observed that regional representation could be achieved via education provider representatives:
Sometimes a regional representative from the northern parts of Queensland may not well understand the regional dynamics of parts of our most southern states. However, TAFEs are located in all of those locations and we have a very big regional footprint. I think there is another way to bring that voice. That voice can be brought more broadly through the providers in terms of the regional perspectives of what they're experiencing through the delivery and their industry experts who deliver the training who have to be industry current …
2.41There was also support for the inclusion of individuals with lived experience of labour market disadvantage on the Board. To this end, WAVE & ERA welcomed the government's recognition of the value of including Board members with lived experience of labour market disadvantage. However, it also suggested that having a member with 'equity expertise' should be a requirement for the Board.
2.42Likewise, Jobs Australia Limited argued that the structure of the Board should also include the not-for-profit sector to ensure representation of the labour supply chain and organisations that work closely with and support job seekers—including job seekers with disability and long-term unemployed.
2.43However, other stakeholders had a more cautious response to the potential impact of the four additional Board members. For example, the BCA questioned whether these positions would be open to former members of employer groups or trade unions and suggested the bill could be improved by ensuring greater independence of the positions.
2.44Further, the ACTU warned that these members could potentially dilute the Board's 'most crucial function' as a voice for industry. This view was shared by the ACCI, which argued that there was the potential for the four members to form a bloc that would 'by virtue of numbers, carry more weight than the rest of the board'. Accordingly, the ACCI suggested that tighter definitions around the four additional positions could help to 'make sure that industry's voice is heard loudest and clearest'. The Ai Group concurred and suggested that 'consideration could be given to reducing the size of this grouping or preventing the dominance of a "single voice" through these board positions'.
2.45In response, Ms Laura Angus, First Assistant Secretary, Careers and International Skills Division, DEWR, observed there was a deliberate intent not to expressly define the four positions in the bill in order to provide as much flexibility as possible to respond to changing circumstances over time. Ms Angus also noted that the more prescriptive the legislation, the greater the risk of unintended consequences:
… once you get to the point where there is a high degree of prescription, sometimes the unintended consequence is that if you're not on that list you are not able to be included or people interpret the legislation as not being extended to cover a particular thing.
The relationship between JSA and the Jobs and Skills Councils
2.46The connection between JSA and the new Jobs and Skills Councils (JSCs) was noted by multiple stakeholders. This included the ACTU, the ACCI, the Ai Group and ITECA, who all advocated for more explicit references to this relationship in the bill.For example, the ACTU proposed that maintenance of the two-way relationship between JSA and the JSCs be included as a core function of JSA:
The two-way relationship between JSA and the JSCs, in which research, information about broad trends and skills policy planning flows from the JSA to the JSCs and industry intelligence, input on solutions to skills challenges and on-the-ground expertise flows from the JSCs to JSA, will be critical in ensuring both bodies are able to function effectively. … In our view there needs to be some consideration of whether the provisions in the bill could be clarified or strengthened to further reinforce the significance of this relationship.
2.47The need for greater clarity about the JSA-JSCs relationship was also proposed by the Ai Group, which saw the contemporaneous establishment of JSA and the JSCs as a rare opportunity to ensure structural alignment between the new entities. Ms Natalie Heazlewood, Associate Director of Skills, Small Business and Innovation at ACCI agreed and highlighted the opportunity presented by the parallel establishment of JSA and the JSCs:
… it is quite exciting because these are all new organisations and they don't have inherent bias. They don't have preconceived ideas of how they should operate. So, when we're coming from the perspective of being concerned and wanting to make sure they're interconnected, it means that we want to make sure that they get off on the best foot possible and that we also want to future-proof it. … we just want to make sure that there is a structure that's in-built in the legislation or the memorandum of understanding, which forces them to collaborate and work together for longevity's sake.
2.48To this end, both the ACCI and ITECA suggested that there was a need for the JSCs to be formally included in JSA's advisory structures, such as via the creation of an advisory body comprising representatives from each JSC.
2.49In response, Ms Angus reiterated DEWR's expectation that JSA and the JSCs would work closely together and noted that discussions between the agencies had already begun:
… you would anticipate that they would work collaboratively … and that you would see both a top-down national perspective from a Jobs and Skills Australia point of view and a bottom-up industry-led Jobs and Skills Councils focus. … There have already been preliminary conversations between my colleagues and some of those jobs and skills councils.
2.50This view was seconded by Professor Peter Dawkins, Director, JSA, who confirmed the importance of the relationship between JSA and the JSCs:
Indeed, those discussions have very much commenced and we are actively supporting the Jobs and Skills Councils in their establishment. We are putting together a dedicated team of people to work closely with the Jobs and Skills Councils. Over the next few months, as they get firmly established, it will be a major focus of our attention.
Views on the proposed functions of JSA
2.51While the majority of commentary on the bill related to JSA's governance arrangements, stakeholders also provided feedback on its proposed functions.
2.52Overall, there was broad support for JSA's expanded remit, particularly in relation to its focus on regional, rural and remote Australia, migration, improving outcomes for cohorts that have historically experienced labour market disadvantage and exclusion, and contributing to industry forums.
2.53While supporting JSA's functions, some participants made suggestions about how JSA might undertake its work or questioned whether the bill would allow JSA to undertake analysis of particular issues or cohorts. For example, the RUN emphasised the importance of nuanced advice in relation to regional communities, rather than 'taking an aggregate view of non-metropolitan Australia'. In addition, WAVE & ERA suggested JSA should be able to 'recognise, investigate and advise on the range of inequitable social and economic factors inhibiting women's labour force participation', including a lack of recognition for skills developed through unpaid work.
2.54While supporting the extension of JSA's remit, stakeholders such as the Ai Group suggested that consideration be given to increasing JSA's funding over time, if required. Mr Connolly of the ACTU also highlighted the need for JSA's work to be appropriately funded and sequenced.
2.55In response, DEWR noted that, while additional funding was not currently required, any supplementary funding for JSA would be subject to annual budget processes and would need to account for the evolution of JSA's workplan over time.
2.56There was also discussion about the provision in the bill that would enable JSA to consider the impacts of insecure work on economic and social outcomes. This provision was welcomed by WAVE & ERA, which contended that insecure work 'perpetuates inequality for women and minorities, and for those experiencing intersectional barriers to workforce participation'.
2.57Other stakeholders, such as the BCA, expressed mixed views. For example, in his evidence to the committee, Mr Craig Evans, Director of Skills at the BCA, questioned 'whether or not JSA should be the primary forum, or a forum, for providing advice on those matters', given its primary focus should be on 'developing Australia's human capital and on the training and education and migration systems that can deliver that'.
2.58Despite this concern, Mr Evans recognised the role workplace arrangements play in incentivising work and acknowledged that JSA would need to take account of these impacts:
To the degree that there are structural arrangements that impact on people's willingness to engage in the training or education systems to pursue a career in a particular sector because there might be some concern, that is something that should be taken into account.
2.59Ms Megan Lilly, Head of Education and Training, Ai Group, concurred with this view and also pointed out that skills deficits can play a role in creating insecure work. A similar view was expressed by Mr Williams of ITECA, who argued that it was appropriate for JSA to consider insecure work as part of its remit:
… the ability to provide those in insecure work with a more permanent pathway to secure work would certainly be a role for the skills training sector. While some may advocate that it would be mission creep, I don't believe it's inappropriate that it be an issue for Jobs and Skills Australia to consider.
2.60Further, Ms Angus of DEWR noted that the impact of insecure work was an emerging issue that was not well understood. Ms Angus explained that the inclusion of insecure work in JSA's remit would allow JSA to understand its impact in terms of the broader labour market—but emphasised that this would not include industrial relations matters.
2.61In addition to feedback on its proposed functions, other stakeholders also advocated for JSA to take on new or additional functions. For example, the ACCI argued that JSA should undertake the role of the former Australia Industry and Skills Committee, including oversight of the accredited training system, formal endorsement of training products, and advice on skills and training policy.
2.62ITECA also proposed a number of additional roles for JSA, including that JSA have 'direct oversight of, and responsibility for', the work of JSCs, particularly their development of training products.
2.63In addition, the ACTU proposed that JSA play a role in monitoring compliance with government programs such as the Australian Skills Guarantee and monitoring progress in relation to apprenticeship diversity targets.
2.64While DEWR acknowledged the feedback received in relation to JSA's functions, it noted that the amendments in the bill 'are broad enough to ensure JSA can undertake analysis on any identified priority cohort or undertake location-based studies in line with its annual work plan and government priorities'. DEWR also indicated that suggestions for additional functions may be considered as part of the statutory review of JSA.
2.65During the inquiry, the committee heard overwhelming support for the permanent establishment of Jobs and Skills Australia (JSA)—both through written submissions and evidence provided at the committee's public hearing. The creation of JSA—as an inclusive and truly tripartite entity—has been welcomed by stakeholders who view JSA as an opportunity to fix past mistakes and focus current efforts on rebuilding Australia's training system in a way that allows it to respond to changing workforce needs and opportunities.
2.66The committee would like to thank stakeholders for participating in the committee's inquiries into JSA's initial establishing legislation and the current bill. The committee recognises that the high degree of support for the bill reflects constructive engagement by the Australian Government and over 200 individual stakeholders during the consultations that have occurred since JSA's establishment in November 2022, as well as the consultations that underpinned development of the interim JSA. Furthermore, the committee is encouraged by the desire of many inquiry participants to continue engaging in JSA's ongoing development and activities.
2.67The committee acknowledges that some stakeholders would have preferred JSA to be established as an independent statutory authority, rather than a secondary statutory body within the Department of Employment and Workplace Relations (DEWR). However, the committee is reassured by evidence provided by DEWR that the bill will guarantee the independence of JSA within this structure. At the same time, the committee recognises that the cost of establishing JSA as an independent agency would be in the tens of millions per year and, given this, the government would prefer to invest in the work of JSA, rather than allocate resources to 'reproducing or duplicating services that could be drawn from the department'. The committee also notes that the review of JSA, which must commence within two years of the passage of the bill, will provide an opportunity to assess JSA's independence.
2.68To this end, the committee heard significant support for the review of JSA after two years. Importantly, in their evidence to the inquiry, stakeholders roundly rejected the suggestion that the review should be brought forward by 12 months, arguing that this would be an impractical and impossibly short timeframe. The committee agrees with those participants who suggested that a review at 12 months could both detract effort from JSA's critical establishment phase and fail to provide enough evidence to assess JSA's success.
2.69There was strong support for the establishment of the proposed Ministerial Advisory Board (Board). This included ongoing support for the tripartite approach to JSA's operations as represented by the proposal for equal representation from employer and employee organisations.
2.70Quite significantly, there was no support for the suggestion that the union quota be removed. Indeed, this appeared to be viewed as a backward step, with more than one stakeholder referring to the desire to build on previous approaches and avoid repeating the mistakes of the past. The committee agrees with stakeholders who suggested that the strength of the industry voice—including the parity between employer and employee representatives on the Board—are necessary components of JSA's operations.
2.71While the committee agrees that industry should be the dominant voice within the JSA Board, it also supports the inclusion of diverse views and perspectives—including those of education and training providers, small businesses, regional and remote Australia, and cohorts who have long experienced disadvantage in the labour market. In the committee's view, the success of JSA will lie not only in its ability to produce timely advice on meeting Australia's skills and labour needs but also in its ability to bring these various stakeholders together in support of a common goal.
2.72As the committee heard, this will include JSA's ability to maintain a strong and effective relationship with the Jobs and Skills Councils (JSCs). To this end, the committee is reassured by the evidence provided by Professor Peter Dawkins, Director of JSA, who stated that JSA is already actively supporting the JSCs and that this will remain a priority for JSA as it moves forward.
2.73While noting the feedback provided by participants, overall, the committee was heartened by participants' support for JSA's expanded remit. This includes support for JSA's role in considering the impacts of insecure work on economic and social outcomes, which need to be better understood if the trend toward more insecure, low-paid and unskilled work is to be addressed.
2.74Finally, the committee recognises that the bill does not address every concern, proposal or amendment put forward by stakeholders during DEWR's consultation period, or as part of this inquiry. However, the committee also heard overwhelming evidence that this should not prevent passage of the bill. Overall, the committee concurs with the view expressed by Mr Scott Connolly, Assistant Secretary of the ACTU, who argued that:
… the proposals in the legislation take the necessary steps to see Jobs and Skills Australia stood up properly as a significant body in our national training and skilling infrastructure at a time of critical need for the nation. I think the key pillars of jobs and skills both for the labour market today and for the future that are encapsulated in the vision for JSA are very timely and well constructed.
2.75Accordingly, the committee recommends that the bill be passed.
2.76The committee recommends the bill be passed.
Senator Tony Sheldon