I am writing in response to your letter to Mr. Kim Beazley, concerning the de-skilling of tradespeople in Australia under the present MAATS scheme, a copy of which has recently been forwarded to me.
I was very interested to read the detailed problems with the new training arrangements which you identified in your letter.
Your criticisms are obviously based on extensive personal experience working in the training field, and reflect the authoritative knowledge of the issues which you have gained from this experience.
The Labor Party has consistently opposed the shift in emphasis to unpaid on-the-job training by employers which the Howard Government has initiated.
We are concerned that young people will not develop the lasting and portable skills which they need under these new arrangements.
We are also very concerned about the devastating impact which the huge cuts the Howard Government has made to vocational education and training in its first two Budgets are having on the delivery of quality training in Australia.
The Minister, Dr. Kemp's abysmal handling of relationships with State Governments is making the problem much worse and placing the position of apprentices in grave jeopardy.
The detailed points which you make in your letter and the accompanying Campus Review article will be of considerable use to me as we formulate the Labor Party's new policies on skills training and I thank you for forwarding them to us.
Shadow Minister for Employment, Training, Population and Immigration