2024–25 May Budget

The 2024–25 Budget includes initiatives across skills and training, employment and workforce and workplace relations to further enable the department to support people in Australia to have safe, secure and well-paid work, with the skills for a sustainable future. 

On this page:

Media Releases

Budget 2024-25: Helping Australians earn more and keep more of what they earn - The Hon Tony Burke MP

Investing in skills and training to support a Future Made in Australia - The Hon Brendan O'Connor MP

Skills and Training

The Government is introducing several measures in this Budget to continue to address skills shortages and build the strong and highly skilled workforce needed to deliver a Future Made in Australia. It includes measures to support the net zero transformation, empower First Nations people to access education, training and employment, and support women achieve flexible, safe and inclusive work and training opportunities in male-dominated industries. 

The Government will invest a further $265.1 million over 4 years from 2024-25 for the Australian Apprenticeships Incentive System, to continue supporting apprentices in priority occupations. Under the revised Australian Apprenticeship Incentive System:

  • Apprentices undertaking training in priority occupations will be eligible for $5,000 to assist with cost-of-living and incentivise them to finish their training.
  • Employers taking on apprentices in priority occupations will be eligible for $5,000 to help subsidise costs associated with employing an apprentice.

The Government will also invest $91 million over 4 years to improve the capacity of the clean energy training system and increase the number of trainees and apprentices in clean energy occupations. This will include funding for initiatives to:

  • establish a $50 million, Commonwealth co-contribution, capital and equipment investment fund to upgrade clean energy training facilities
  • expand the clean energy teacher, trainer and assessor workforce
  • target activities that expedite the take-up of clean energy apprenticeships, by expanding the eligibility criteria for the New Energy Apprenticeships Program, with eligible apprentices receiving direct financial supports up to $10,000
  • establish climate careers promotion activities across government, industry, civil society, and the education and training sectors, and
  • undertake a scoping study on using Australia’s international education sector to tackle critical skills shortages, through work integrated learning and apprenticeships where domestic training capacity permits.
  • reimburse Group Training Organisations that reduce their fees for small and medium enterprises who engage an apprentice training in the clean energy, manufacturing and construction industries. 

The Government will invest over 4 years, commencing in 2024-25:

  • $55.6 million in the new Building Women’s Careers program, which will drive structural and systemic cultural change in work and training environments, and
  • an additional $10.6 million to support the implementation of the Australian Skills Guarantee, to help train the next generation of skilled workers.
  • $4.4 million in 2024-25 to help raise community awareness of Fee-Free TAFE courses in areas of high skills need, also boosting the status of VET and encourage the uptake and use of VET pathways.   

The Government will provide funding to grow Australia’s construction workforce and boost housing supply through:

  • Supporting states and territories to deliver over the next two years 20,000 additional Fee-Free places by TAFEs and industry Registered Training Organisations, for courses relevant to the construction sector.
    • This measure includes working with jurisdictions to support 5,000 people to access pre-apprenticeship programs, designed to give students an experience of working in construction-related trades.
  • Streamlining skills assessments for around 1,900 potential migrants from countries with comparable qualifications who want to work in Australia’s housing and construction industry, and prioritising processing of around 2,600 Trades Recognition Australia skills assessments in targeted construction occupations.

In addition, the Government is delivering on reforms recommended by the Australian Universities Accord, including through:

  • reforming the Higher Education Loan Program (HELP) and other income contingent loan programs, including VET Student Loans and Australian Apprenticeship Support Loans, to make them fairer.
  • a new Commonwealth Prac Payment will provide $58.2 million over 4 years in cost-of-living relief for eligible VET students studying a nursing qualification and undertaking mandatory placements.
  • committing $15.9 million specifically for VET across the next 4 years to improve tertiary collaboration, laying the foundations for broader reforms, including through improving credit recognition between VET and higher education, improving regulatory approaches for dual sector providers and pilot the Australia Skills Quality Authority delegating VET course accreditation to selected TAFEs. 

Other Government investments in this Budget include:

  • Investing $30.2 million over 5 years from 2023–24, in partnership with central Australian communities and the Northern Territory Government, to co-design and establish a network of Remote Training Hubs.
  • Providing $6.1 million for careers information and policy through the National Careers Institute in 2024-25.
  • Providing an additional $9.5 million in 2024–25 to Jobs and Skills Australia (JSA), to continue providing independent advice on current, emerging, and future workforce skills and training needs. 

Employment and Workforce

The Government is taking incremental steps in the 2024–25 Budget towards larger scale reform of the employment services system. These measures are an initial response to the immediate issues identified through the House of Representatives Select Committee on Workforce Australia Employment Services, and include:

  • A $54 million commitment over 5 years to a new employment pathways package, in partnership with employers across Australia, will focus on people with barriers to work who are seeking to connect to job opportunities and achieve sustained employment.
    • The Real Jobs, Real Wages initiative will invest $32.1 million to support people who are at risk of long-term unemployment into secure work via a tapered wage subsidy over 6 months.
    • The WorkFoundations initiative will invest $21.9 million to assist people with complex barriers to employment to build their work readiness, with funding for social enterprises and businesses to deliver paid employment placements of up to 6 months with tailored, wrap-around supports.
    • Funding will be redirected to these initiatives by reducing Employment Fund credits and ceasing the Workforce Specialists initiative. Existing Workforce Specialist projects will continue to be delivered until completion.
  • The Government will invest a further $68.6 million over 5 years in the Digital Services Contact Centre to provide better support for people using Workforce Australia Online. This will strengthen service delivery to Workforce Australia Online Service participants by Australian Public Service personnel. From June 2024, $27 million will be redirected to support individuals on the digital services caseload by reducing the credit amount allocated to the Digital Employment Fund as new participants commence, from $300 to $250.
  • The Government will also provide $10.9 million over 4 years for critical improvements to the Workforce Australia IT system. This funding will benefit people seeking work by reducing the administrative burden on employment services providers, allowing them to spend more time delivering employment supports.
  • For Australians who receive income support payments the Government will make changes to better recognise people’s individual circumstances with more appropriate mutual obligation rules.
  • The Government will make adjustments to strengthen the integrity of the employment services system and provide stronger safeguards for clients while it undertakes consultation on broader reforms to the employment services system.
  • The Government will invest $76.2 million over 5 years in a new employment program to improve the transition from prison to work for First Nations people, building on the Time to Work Employment Service.
  • The Broome Employment Services will be extended until June 2027 with an investment of $3.7 million from 2025-26.

The Government’s 2024-25 Budget also includes measures to deliver a systematic and positive economic transformation to Net Zero for Australian workers, industries and communities:

  • The Government will invest $134.2 million over 4 years from 2024-25 to support communities likely to be affected by the transition to a net zero economy.
  • The Government will seek to develop Regional Workforce Transition Plans, developed with communities, state and local governments, employers, workers and unions to support the delivery of place-based supports and services in affected regions.

Workplace Relations

The Government is introducing additional measures to protect workers and support small businesses to comply with workplace relations laws. These initiatives support the Government's recent workplace relations reforms to boost wages and conditions and create safer workplaces, including the Closing Loopholes Acts and the prohibition of the use of engineered stone.

Measures include:

  • The Government will provide $20.5 million over 4 years from 2024–25 to boost the Fair Work Ombudsman's Employer Advisory Service, make it ongoing, and to provide additional supports for small business.
  • The Government will provide $27.5 million over 4 years from 2024–25 to continue the Fair Work Ombudsman’s work to respond to self-reported non-compliance with the Fair Work Act 2009 by large corporate employers.
  • The Government will provide $1.9 million over 2 years from 2024–25 to the Fair Work Ombudsman, to increase monitoring of the payment of relevant Award wages to seafarers on foreign vessels engaged in coastal trading under a Temporary Licence.
  • The Government will recalibrate the Fair Entitlements Guarantee Recovery Program to deliver increased benefits to employees. The department will actively pursue unpaid superannuation guarantee charge (SGC) amounts owed by employers who have entered liquidation or bankruptcy, for employees that have applied for Fair Entitlements Guarantee assistance. The department expects to recover an additional $56.6 million in SGC debt over the forward estimates, which will be received by the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) and paid to employees’ superannuation funds (excepting SGC administration fees). This will achieve efficiencies of $13.0 million over 4 years from 2024–25.
  • The Government will provide an additional $60 million of funding over 4 years from 2024–25 for the Productivity, Education and Training Fund grant program, to continue supporting employer and worker representatives to engage with the government’s workplace reforms and educate their members.
  • The Government will provide $2 million over one year to fund initial work by a Victoria-hosted project office to progress development of a harmonised national labour hire licensing scheme across all states and territories. 
  • The Australian Government will legislate to prohibit the importation of engineered stone into Australia. The Government will provide funding of $32.1 million over 2 years from 2024-25 for Australian Border Force to enforce an import prohibition on engineered stone. This will complement the domestic prohibition on the use of engineered stone under Commonwealth, state and territory work health and safety (WHS) laws.
  • The Government will provide $1.5 million over 4 years from 2024–25 to support the establishment of the Family and Injured Workers Advisory Committee.
  • The Government will provide additional funding of $1.5 million over 2 years from 2024–25 to support a comprehensive, independent review of the Safety, Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 1988, which underpins the Comcare workers’ compensation scheme.
  • The Government will provide $13.2 million over 3 years to provide targeted assistance to increase the number of builders accredited under the Work Health and Safety Accreditation Scheme available to work on Housing Australia Future Fund and National Housing Accord Facility projects.
  • The Government’s new Energy Industry Jobs Plan will support workers in coal or gas-fired power stations scheduled for closure to find new jobs that suit their skills and experience. The Fair Work Commission will receive $2.1 million over 4 years to administer the creation of ‘communities of interest’ of closing coal or gas-fired power stations and employers that are dependent on them in impacted regions.  

Review of policies and programs to ensure quality spending

The Budget identified the following responsible savings measures to ensure quality spending can be redirected to other portfolio measures. These include:

  • $47.3 million over 5 years from 1 July 2024 by ceasing the Harvest Trail Services and Harvest Trail Information Service programs.
  • $3.5 million over 2 years from 2023-24 by reducing the scope of the engineered stone communication campaign, consistent with market research on public awareness of the engineered stone ban. 
  • $4.7 million in 2023-24 by reducing the scope of the second stage of the Business Research and Innovation Initiative - Automatic Mutual Recognition of Occupational Registrations.
  • $3.9 million over 4 years from 1 July 2024 by ceasing the Integrated Information Service program.
  • $6.1 million over the forward estimates by ceasing the International Skills Training courses program.

Employment and Workplace Relations 2024–25 Portfolio Budget Statements


The Employment and Workplace Relations 2024–25 Portfolio Budget Statements provides government expenditure estimates for the 2024–25 budget year. The PBS was tabled in Parliament on 14 May 2024.

FINAL 2024.05.12 - 11.12 - 2024-25 PBS FINAL.pdf

Employment and Workplace Relations 2023-24 Portfolio Supplementary Additional Estimates Statements