State Budget 2021-22

The WA State Budget was handed down yesterday afternoon with a record-breaking surplus of $5.6 billion, bolstered by the State's high performing resources sector. Education, training, and jobs, featured heavily within this year's budget and a large number of measures targeting schools and supporting the education system in guiding students through career choices, and improving the visibility of VET as a career pathway, were announced.

Education measures (including VET in Schools):

  • Additional Training Places for Secondary School Students – A additional $29.8 million to expand the number of Vocational Education and Training (VET) places by 8,000 for Year 11 and 12 school students.

  • Vocational Education and Training (VET) Taster Program for Year 9 Students – A new $19.2 million to deliver short courses to Year 9 students at TAFE Colleges and provide early exposure to career options through VET pathways.

  • Professional Learning for Vocational Education Training (VET) Teachers in Schools – An additional $29.5 million to fund relief teachers so VET teachers in schools can undertake industry professional learning.

  • Support Scheme for School-based Apprenticeships – A new $1.3 million spend to support school-based apprentices identified as vulnerable or at-risk of non-completion.

  • Schools Science Package – $10.3 million in primary science resource grants to enhance science education equipment and materials, and an additional $7.9 million will be invested in upgrading science labs and classrooms.

  • Career Learning Toolkit – New $2.5 million spend to develop and implement a new Career Learning Toolkit for year 8 and 9 students and promote Vocational Education and Training and career options.

  • Career Resources to Support Parents – An additional $737,000 to expanding career events and resources and support parents in guiding their children’s career considerations.

  • Specialised Career Practitioners – An additional $29.7 million for the trial placement of qualified career practitioners in 70 public schools across the State

  • International Education Recovery and Renewal – An additional $3.4 million over 2021-22 and 2022-23 to entice international students to study in WA when international borders open.

  • Expansion of Alternative Learning Settings – An additional $38.5 million to expand Alternative Learning Settings programs by establishing eight additional sites.

  • Primary school science program – A new $18.2 million program to bolster science and education across 400 public schools.

  • Pilbara Education Partnership with BHP – $602,000 to the 14-month Rise Up pilot program to promote student wellbeing.

  • Aboriginal postgraduate scholarships – A new scholarship up to $40,360 per year for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students undertaking minerals research.

  • Election Commitment** Science and STEM in Secondary Schools – $72.2 million will be invested over 2021-22 to 2024-25 to enhance STEM and science learning infrastructure in secondary schools.

  • Election Commitment** Science in Primary Schools – An additional $7.9 million over 2021-22 to 2024-25 has been allocated for science classroom refurbishment works to primary schools.

  • Election Commitment** Solar and Clean Energy Program – A new $39.8 million over 2021-22 to 2024-25 will be spent on renewable energy in schools, including efficient lighting and energy efficient building improvements, rooftop solar systems and virtual power plants.

Training measures:

  • Adult Apprentice Employer Incentive – New $5.2 million incentive payment to employers to support 200 mature age apprentices by covering the wage gap between adult and junior apprentices.

  • Apprenticeship and Traineeship Re-engagement Incentive – An additional $4 million to extend a further 12 months.

  • Employment of Apprentices and Trainees through Group Training Organisations (GTOs) – A new $32.4 million over 2021-22 to 2024-25 to subsidise wages for 300 apprentices and trainees who are employed by GTOs.

  • TAFE College Lecturers Industry Placement – An additional $9.9 million over 2021-22 to 2024-25 to enable TAFE College lecturers to return to industry and upskill.

  • National Agreement for Skills and Workforce Development – Recurrent expenditure on training service delivery will increase by $6.1 million reflecting additional Commonwealth funding provisioned under the agreement.

  • Election Commitment** Investing in Modern Equipment for the TAFE Colleges – an additional $25 million over four years will be spent to upgrade and modernise training equipment and facilities in TAFEs.

Jobs measures:

  • WA Jobs Taskforce – Spend $5.1 million to assist in implementing the WA Jobs Plan and support job creation for local manufacturing businesses and regional communities

  • Investment Attraction and New Industries Fund – $100 million to establish and support economic diversification into new industry opportunities, including $16.7 million to support innovation in small business.

  • Regional driver’s licence – $4.9 million for a 12-month pilot program to help young people in regional WA gain their driver’s licence.

  • Targeted advertising campaign – Attract interstate and New Zealand workers.

  • Aboriginal Ranger Program – An additional $45 million to continue and expand the Aboriginal Ranger Program in regional Western Australia.

  • Global Advanced Manufacturing Hub – $2 million will be spent over 2021-22 and 2022-23 to establish a high tech manufacturing hub.

  • Wind Turbine Manufacturing – $2 million in 2021-22 for the development of a wind turbine manufacturing industry in Western Australia. Capital investment of $6 million over 2022-23 to 2024-25 has also been approved for this project.

  • Local Manufacturing Investment Fund – $15 million has been allocated over 2021-22 and 2022-23 to assist in building local industry capacity to manufacture, refurbish or maintain iron ore railcar wagons.

  • Local Manufacturing Investment Fund – $7.5 million in 2021-22 to construct a common user access road and intersection within the Oakajee Strategic Industrial Area to support the development of a Renewable Hydrogen Hub.

Looking forward, WA is facing a number of challenges, the most prominent of these relates to skills shortages and capacity constraints, with RITC receiving anecdotal evidence of some businesses’ output being constrained by an inability to obtain appropriate labour. Equally, an education and training sector which is nimble and able to swiftly respond to the critical needs of industry must remain a shared priority.

With $140 Billion of projects in the pipeline across the WA resources sector, the cooperation of Government, training and education stakeholders, and industry, is fundamentally important to ensure the full development and utilisation of the skills capability of existing workers (including upskilling and cross-skilling), alongside increased workforce mobility - both domestic and international, and nurturing the talent pipeline.

The RITC will continue to support State Government, industry, and training / education stakeholders, and work to address shared priorities outlined within the new State Budget.