Media release

Burston steps in to rescue regional apprenticeships

UNITED Australia Party Senate Leader Brian Burston, has stepped in to save hundreds of apprentices from missing out on vital vocational training opportunities due to a flaw in the government’s apprenticeship wage subsidy trial scheme.

The scheme is designed to encourage employers in rural and regional areas to take on apprentices, but bizarrely excluded small businesses that had done just that in the preceding three years.

Senator Burston responded to a call from NSW butcher Darren Wilson, who was denied the access to the subsidy despite his proud history of employing apprentices and supporting both his industry and local community.

“I immediately contacted the government and have been assured this was an unintended error that will be amended to allow Mr Wilson, and others like him, to benefit from the scheme,” Senator Burston said.

“It doesn’t make any sense to exclude and discriminate against small businesses who have a strong track record of taking on apprentices and providing them with solid training and a secure job.

“We need to do more to keep young people from having to leave their regional home town for work, as well as bolstering the trade skills of Australian workers and insulating ourselves from damaging skill shortages in the future,” Senator Burston said.

While pleased to have been of immediate assistance to Mr Wilson, Senator Burston added that the lack of response from the government to the Forster-based butcher was indicative of a government that is out of touch with the people.

“What is alarming to me and the United Australia Party, is that Mr Wilson had repeatedly attempted to contact the office of Senator Michaelia Cash, Minister for Small and Family Business, Skills and Vocational Education, but his pleas were ignored,” Senator Burston said.

“This is yet another example of this government being asleep at wheel and failing to listen to hardworking Australians who are trying to do their bit for the nation.”