A LABOR government will create more opportunities for central Victorian apprentices, Bendigo Labor candidate Lisa Chesters says.
Prime Minister Kevin Rudd yesterday announced new rules to increase work opportunities for apprentices on Commonwealth government building contracts and other projects with more than 50 per cent commonwealth funding.
Ms Chesters said that on projects worth more than $5 million, the new rules would stipulate that 10 per cent of total hours worked must be worked by apprentices.
“This will include the already announced $5.2 million for the Bendigo Tennis Complex redevelopment and the $45 million for the Ravenswood intersection upgrade,” she said.
Ms Chesters said the announcement could also mean as many as 15 new apprentices would be involved in the Thales’ Hawkei Light Protected Mobility Vehicle program.
“When you speak to families in Bendigo, they are always telling me their son or daughter can’t get apprenticeships,” she said.
“It is very competitive out there, which is why I think this is an important opportunity for young people.” In response to Ms Chesters’ announcement, Bendigo Liberal candidate Greg Bickley released the following statement:
“This is just another thought bubble from the prime minister known for making policy on the run and a government that has a trail of broken promises,” he said.
“If elected, a Coalition government will deliver real help to apprentices to assist them to complete their training by providing interest-free trade support loans of up to $20,000.”
Ms Chesters also vowed to take on the state government after it cut funding to TAFEs.
“I know how important our local TAFE, BRIT and access to TAFE courses are to people in central Victoria,” she said.
“It’s vital our region has a strong TAFE.”