Axed $57m skills program ‘not our responsibility’ – minister

A $57 million initiative had been axed because it was not the state government’s responsibility, according to Queensland’s Minister for Education.

The Skilling Queenslanders for Work initiative had helped 57,000 Queenslanders find jobs and a return would have been made on the funds within 12 months, the Leader of the Opposition told parliament yesterday.

Minister for Education, Training and Employment John-Paul Langbroek said although this initiative included worthy programs it was not the responsibility of the state.

“South Australia spends $6 million to help long-term unemployed or people in danger of falling through the cracks. Victoria spends about $1.1 million. Queensland was spending $57 million a year on this. This is a federal government responsibility,” Mr Langbroek said.

Mr Langbroek said this initiative had not been proven and its programs should be reviewed.

“There were no outcomes that were proven in some of these arrangements. Some of them were worthy programs and we have acknowledged that.

“In fact, we should be inquiring into some of the outcomes of some of these organisations that were funded year after year by those opposite in their irresponsible way of dealing with the budget,” he said.

Mr Langbroek said the previous government had ignored the budget deficit to profit the electorates of their members.

“It is obvious that there were members opposite who decided to go to ministers and say, ‘We really need this for my electorate. Don’t worry about the outcomes. Just keep funding it.’ That is how those opposite
worked when they were in government and that led us to the budget situation that we found ourselves in with a $4 billion deficit,” he said.

Opposition Leader Annastacia Palaszczuk said there were “significant social benefits that this program has provided for tens of thousands of Queenslanders”.

“It keeps people out of the youth justice system,” she said.

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