Australia doles out A$1.2 billion in wage subsidies

The scheme will see the government subsidise half of the wages for 70,000 apprentices for 12 months, incentivising businesses to hire younger workers.
By: | March 11, 2021

The Australian government will hand out at least A$1.2 billion (US$0.92 billion) to businesses for them to hire 70,000 apprentices next year, incentivising firms to employ younger workers.

Under the scheme, which will run till September 2022, the government will pay half the wages of the apprentices, up to a maximum of A$7,000 (US$5,377) each quarter, for a 12-month period. 

So far, the government’s job creation plan has helped 100,000 apprentices gain employment through the existing wage subsidy scheme, which was announced last October.

In New South Wales, over 30,000 new apprentices have been hired, while Victoria saw almost 24,000 apprentices gain employment under the initial phase of the programme. 

“Those people aren’t just young people, about a third of those people who have come into this programme have been aged over the age of 35,” said Prime Minister Scott Morrison at the announcement of the apprentice scheme. 

He also added that the cap on the programme would be removed, and it would be a demand-driven scheme. 

“Taken together with the support for existing apprentices, that means over 222,000 apprentices and trainees are being supported by our wage subsidy programmes, keeping our pipeline of skilled workers in place during a once-in-a-century global pandemic and recession,” the prime minister said, according to The Sydney Morning Herald. 

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“This will ensure an apprenticeship place is there for any Australian and every business who wants one as our economy recovers.”

Separately, Australia’s JobKeeper scheme, which subsidises wages for employees in businesses affected by the pandemic, will end this March.