Scott Morrison slammed: Unions fume over training panel snub
Unions are urging Scott Morrison to overturn a decision to sideline them from a panel overseeing the government's plan to boost vocational education and training.
Skills Minister Michaelia Cash has announced a 19-member panel to guide the $525 million reform package.
The panel will include the Business Council of Australia, the Australian Industry Group and the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
But Australia's peak union body will not be included.
In a letter obtained by AAP, ACTU Secretary Sally McManus told the prime minister that unions had a long history of positive engagement with the sector, including on training design and delivery.
"We are aware of the current weaknesses of the VET system and have for many years attempted to address those issues, often in concert with many of the organisations Minister Cash has included on the Industry VET Stakeholder Committee," she wrote.
Ms McManus said shutting out the voice of workers was ill-advised and represented the squandering of an opportunity to address real weaknesses in the system.
Senator Cash said the ACTU showed contempt for the Joyce review, which recommended forming the panel, making it hypocritical to want to be involved.
"Sally McManus' letter is nothing but a collection of hollow words," she told AAP.
"The fact is unionism under Sally McManus has become more and more irrelevant in today's economy. Representation has plummeted."
The skills minister pointed to the ACTU's submission to the review which called it a political charade.
"Only the Morrison government is focused on fixing the rorts and rip-offs left under Labor."
Ms McManus told AAP the decision to exclude unions and the prime minister's refusal to overturn it was deeply disappointing.
"The creation of a new committee without union representation is an outrageous move by a minister with a long history of attacks on working people," she said.
"Minister Cash has a long history of doing whatever it takes to serve the interests of big business and erode workers' rights."