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The extraordinary opportunity for serious policy reform now that National Cabinet has been elevated was made during one of our video conferences this week.

Managing Director Peter Costantini said it was a fascinating and energising meeting with the Minister for Employment, Skills, Small and Family Business, Senator the Hon. Michaelia Cash, and reinforced the need to take a new approach as we face the challenges still to come.

Minister Cash was greeted by our clients attending the video conference with congratulations for the way the Morrison Government has handled the crisis.

“These are extraordinary times for all Australians. We know that businesses, employers and employees are doing it tough right now. We are very aware that small businesses are the lifeblood of our communities and the backbone of the Australian economy,” Minister Cash said.

“What humbles me every day as a Minister is the resilience of small business. When I meet with people and speak with them, these people are not wanting to talk about themselves. They want to talk about what we need to do to help them look after their employees.’’

Minister Cash said the Government has rolled out a range of measures that are targeted and proportionate to the challenges we face, and to ensure Australia is in the best possible position to come out stronger on the other side.

These measures include the JobKeeper Payment, the Boosting Cash Flow measure, help for hiring apprentices and trainees, the Instant Asset Write-Off, the SME loan guarantee and tax support.

“We’ve put in place a range of stimulus measures with total support for the economy reaching $260 billion across the forward estimates. These economic measures are designed to keep businesses open, and people in work – to ensure that investment continues to be made in the economy,” Minister Cash said.

The Government is also now turning its focus to recovery with the Prime Minister recently announcing a three step plan and a national framework to achieve a COVID-safe economy and society.

Minister Cash, who will lead the Government’s skills reform agenda, flagged by the Prime Minister  at his National Press Club address, said this was a real opportunity to enact improved efficiencies in policy formation for Australia’s skills sector.

“The overwhelming priority of the Government in the COVIDSafe economy is to win the battle for jobs,’’ Minister Cash said. “A key pillar of the JobMaker initiative is to strengthen Australia’s vocational education and training system. This is needed to deliver skilled, work-ready employees for the jobs businesses are looking to create.’’

“At the 2019 election, our Prime Minister, Scott Morrison, put skills reform front and centre of the Government’s agenda with a $585 million skills package. A key pillar of the JobMaker initiative continues this work to strengthen Australia’s vocational education and training system. This is needed to deliver skilled, work-ready employees for the jobs businesses are looking to create.’’

Minister Cash will continue to meet with Skills Ministers to discuss the Government’s skills reform agenda, with the next meeting slated to occur in the next two weeks.

“As the Prime Minister indicated in his National Press Club address, this is a real opportunity to enact improved efficiencies in policy formation for Australia’s skills sector,’’ she said. “This is all about making vocational training work for the Australian people. We are working to ensure that our skills system provides Australians with industry-ready skills needs now and into the future.”

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