The Federal Government has passed legislation that will create the Australian Workforce and Productivity Agency (AWPA), which will aim to strengthen Australia’s response to the nation’s skills challenge and boost productivity. The Agency, will be led by industry representatives, and will have a key role in the allocation of a $700 million industry training fund.


The Minister for Skills, Senator Chris Evans, said the new Agency marks a significant development in the partnership between industry and Government.


"The Agency is an extension of Skills Australia and will improve long-term workforce planning and development, address skills and labour shortages and contribute to improved industry and workplace productivity," Senator Evans said.


The Agency will be responsible for setting priorities, and providing oversight, of the $700 million National Workfoce Development Fund (NWDF), which has been established to support industry to develop and impove skills of their employees.


The NWDF is providing $700 million over five years to support businesses who want to up-skill and re-skill new and existing staff in priority industries and occupations.


"Putting industry at the heart of the system means we are not training people for training sake - we are training people for jobs. This is a fundamental difference from the traditional supply side system where an individual selects the training package they want," Senator Evans said.


"This fundamental reform ensures that the Government is training people in the skills that employers and economy needs.


"With industry co-investment, the NWDF will deliver training to 250,000 Australian workers.


"The Agency will be recognised as an authority on workforce development policy, research, advice and will direct skills funding to industry needs."


The Government will provide $25 million over three years to establish the Australian Workforce and Productivity Agency. This is in addition to the current Skills Australia budget.