Federal Budget 2020-21: Capability


CME supports the Government’s significant investment in education and training to ensure all Australians have the skills they need, building the requisite pipeline of qualified and diverse workers the WA resources sector needs to grow and prosper. Budget commitments include:    

  • Supporting Apprentices and Trainees – An investment of $1.2 billion over four years will provide 50 per cent wage subsidies to medium-sized businesses with fewer than 200 employees to retain or re-engage apprentices and trainees between 1 July 2020 and 31 March 2021. 
  • JobTrainer – A $1 billion fund, jointly established with states and territories, to contribute $500 million to provide up to 340,700 Australians with access to free, or low fee, training places in areas of skills need. 
  • Investment in VET Reform – $263 million over four years to continue to improve the quality of the Vocational Education and Training (VET) system, including a new Apprenticeships Data Management System, the National Careers Institute and the development of a National Skills Priority List for Apprenticeships.  
  • Job-ready Graduates Package – An additional $2 billion to fund higher education reforms, creating 100,000 new university places by 2030. This package includes funding to establish a National Priorities and Industry Linkage Fund to increase partnerships between universities and industry to ensure more students gain industry experiences and job ready skills.  
  • Supporting International Students – $2.0 million over four years (and $5.2 million over ten years) to support approximately 180 international and domestic university students each year to participate in short-term student exchanges with universities in Australia and 16 selected Asian countries. This program will resume once international borders re-open. 
  • Fringe Benefits Tax exemption – The Government will introduce an exemption for employer provided retraining and reskilling benefits. 
  • CQUniversity Australia – NAIF loan of up to $76 million to upgrade digital infrastructure over the next two years (to benefit remote-learning capabilities in facilities such as the one in Perth) and $30 million towards constructing a School of Mining and Manufacturing by 2023. 


CME welcomes the Government’s ongoing commitment to job creation, workforce participation and employment. Continued investment will ensure the WA resources sector remains a strong employer of Australians. 

  • JobMaker hiring credit – $4.0 billion over three years to accelerate employment growth by supporting organisations to take on additional employees. Eligible employers will be credited for each additional new job they create for an eligible employee. 
  • Local Jobs Program – $62.8 million over two years to establish a program to coordinate employment and training solutions at a local level in 25 regions across Australia. 
  • Women’s Economic Security Statement – $240 million in measures and programs to support new cadetships and apprenticeships for women in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM), job creation and entrepreneurialism, and women’s safety at work and at home. 
  • Talent Attraction – $29.8 million over two years to establish a new whole-of-government Global Business and Talent Attraction Taskforce to attract international businesses and exceptional talent to Australia, to support the post-COVID recovery and boost local jobs. 


CME is pleased to see investment to help build student interest and aspiration in STEM and provide opportunities to develop critical thinking, creativity and entrepreneurship. These capabilities are essential to develop a skilled workforce that meets the nation’s economic and community needs. 

  • Enhancing STEM Skills – $27.3 million over five years to enhance the STEM skills of young Australians.  
  • Research funding – $1 billion for new research funding for universities, including a scoping study of potential options to accelerate the translation and commercialisation of research, including through new partnerships between universities and industry and opportunities for investments. 


CME is pleased to see the increased investment to mental health support systems, acknowledging the mental toll of the COVID-19 pandemic on all Australians. The funding allocation indicates a balanced approach across prevention, support, and treatment measures: 

  • COVID-19 Response Package – $100.8 million over two years to provide up to ten additional psychological Medicare-funded therapy sessions each calendar year nationally. Funding supports the Better Access Initiative. 
  • Prioritising Mental Health – Additional $62.1 million over four years to improve access to mental health services. This includes digital mental health services, enhancing the headspace National network, and advancing research that targets people at heightened risk of mental ill-health and suicide.  
  • National Mental Health and Wellbeing Pandemic Response Plan – $122.1 million over three years to support the mental health of Australians during the COVID-19 pandemic. The funding addresses emerging gaps in mental health services, such as social isolation and anxiety due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Support services such as Lifeline Australia, Kids Helpline, and Beyond Blue are included. 
  • Suicide prevention – Additional $104.6 million over five years to improve the health and wellbeing of Australians and provide support for people with mental illness or at risk of suicide.  
  • Supporting our Hospitals – $131.2 million over five years to support projects that reduce avoidable hospitalisations, improve access to mental health care and improve hospital infrastructure.