NSW Opposition proposes premium exemption for apprentices

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NSW Opposition proposes premium exemption for apprentices

NSW Liberal Leader Peter Debnam has announced plans to exempt employers from the cost of workers compensation premiums for apprentices if the Liberals win the 2007 election.

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NSW Liberal Leader Peter Debnam has announced plans to exempt employers from the cost of workers compensation premiums for apprentices if the Liberals win the 2007 election.

The measure would apply to all apprentices, including those in housing and construction, to be phased in from 2008//09.

Easing skills crisis

Debnam said the exemption for employers from paying the cost of WorkCover premiums for apprentices over a four year period would help ease the skills crisis.

'Removing this cost will boost youth employment and ease the long-term skills shortage affecting a range of sectors, including the build and construction sectors,' he said.

The move would mean apprentices remain covered by WorkCover, as they are now, and would bring NSW into line with Victoria where employers do not pay apprentice premiums.

Debnam said the cost would be offset by new housing industry measures designed to boost the housing market in NSW, these include topping up the first-home buyers grant to $10,000 and certain stamp duty concessions.

Business incentive to take on apprentices

NSW employer group ABL State Chamber has welcomed the announcement, saying the move provides another incentive for businesses to take on an apprentice.

ABL State Chamber CEO, Mark Bethwaite said it also encourages businesses to make an investment in skills.

'This is an excellent initiative. When an employer invests in skills by taking on an apprenticeship, ultimately the whole community benefits through increased supply of skilled labour.

Mr Bethwaite said that business had been saying for some time there needed to be a community re-alignment in thinking about the value of trades and this initiative reflected that realignment.

“This initiative fits with the Federal Government's work in supporting businesses through the New Apprenticeship Centres.  It is incentives such as the one announced today that encourage employers to make an investment in skills.

'We know this initiative will have a positive impact on business costs and in encouraging businesses to take on apprenticeships.'

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