The passage of the new payroll tax exemption laws will hit regional businesses hard and rob workers of vital training opportunities.

Tuesday night’s passage of the Bill, with support from the Nationals WA, means the Payroll Tax Exemption for traineeships for all existing workers will be removed, retrospective to December last year.

The outcome is disappointing for WA’s future workforce skills, CCI CEO Chris Rodwell said.

“CCI has advised the Government that traineeships are already in freefall as a direct result of their policy change, putting WA jobs and skills at risk and damaging the State’s long-term economic recovery,” he said.

“No funding has been committed in this year’s State Budget for the Government’s proposed Grants Scheme and, by their own admission, they have no detail of what it will look.”

CCI fought a hard campaign against the changes, rallying employers to voice their anger to the Government through the Save Our Skills project.

Rodwell said the changes would not aid WA’s bid to diversify its skills and economy with the decision to hurt regional WA, in particular.

Workers there were 1.5 times more likely to undertake VET-based training, compared with metropolitan areas, and regional businesses were already being forced to pay roughly 25 per cent more than their metropolitan counterparts to provide training.

“We are particularly disappointed that The Nationals WA opted to support the Government’s legislation, despite clear evidence that this will hit regional workers harder than metropolitan workers,” Rodwell said.

He thanked the Liberal Party, One Nation, the Liberal Democrats and the Shooters, Fishers and Farmers Party for opposing the Bill.

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