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27th May, 2020

JobMaker: PM’s plan to get the economy back on its feet

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has announced plans to rehabilitate Australia’s pandemic-stricken economy through a scheme that will address key areas that are ripe for reforms.

As the Australian economy heads into phase two of the restriction-easing process, Prime Minister Scott Morrison held a press conference this week where he unveiled his plans and vision for an economic comeback.

The recovery scheme, which has been dubbed JobMaker, is set to place an emphasis on a number of key economic challenges, many of which are likely to have widespread implications for small-to-medium businesses around the country.

Of the various areas that Morrison identified as being crucial focal points for a solid economic comeback, the two areas of skill shortages and improvements to relationships between business and the unions movement, had a particular relevance to the SME demographic.


Improvements to skills and training efforts


SBS News reported that during his press conference launching the JobMaker scheme, Morrison admitted that the Federal Government needed to up its game when it came to the use of its $1.5 billion annual budget allocation to skill and training issues, which is handed to the state and territory leaders to administer.

“The Commonwealth has no sight on how the states use this funding,” Morrison said.

“Where target do exist, they are aspirational. If not met, there are no consequences.”

According to SmartCompany, the changes to the existing fund will include a closer link between funding and skills shortages, a general program overhaul, increased program performance monitoring and improved coordination of subsidies, loans and other funding.

While the program will indeed be receiving an overhaul, Morrison said that he won’t be allocating any additional funds to it at this stage but would instead focus efforts on maximising the existing budget.

“I’ve made very clear to premiers and chief ministers that my government would be prepared to invest more, but throwing more money into a bad system does not get you results,” Morrison said on Tuesday.

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Greenfields agreements and industrial relations improvements


In a separate report covering JobMaker, SmartCompany also wrote that the Morrison government planned on addressing areas relating to industrial relations, including the simplification of modern awards, enterprise agreements and wage theft.

Additionally, Morrison spoke of potentially implementing Greenfields agreements – where new businesses would have the opportunity to negotiate directly with unions before hiring their first employees.

Through opening up the channels of communication between new businesses and unions, Morrison believes that sustainable and maintainable agreements are likely to surface.

“I want to see employers and employees sit down around a table [to] talk about those issues and find a way forward,” he said in his address to the National Press Club.


Reforms and overhauls flagged across the board


Outside of these two focal points of the JobMaker recovery plan, Morrison also outlined the other issues that he plans to place an emphasis on in an attempt to pave the way for an economic comeback.

These areas included energy and resources, higher education, research and science, open banking, the digital economy, trade, manufacturing, infrastructure and regional development, deregulation and federation reform, and a reformed tax system to support jobs and investment.

“That is the change agenda of our job-making plan, to enable Australia to emerge from this crisis and set up Australia for economic success over the next three to five years,” he said.