If the Coalition were re-elected it would give $168 million to small businesses to train their staff, Treasurer Peter Costello said at today’s National Press Club debate.
Facing up against his Labor counterpart Wayne Swan, Costello said the Coalition plans to invest the funds in at least 100,000 new small businesses over a five-year period.
The vouchers, offered to small businesses employing fewer than 20 people, are each worth up to $1500, to be matched by the business.
Costello said small business employed nearly 3.7 million Australians and were an engine room for generating employment.
In contrast, Swan criticised the Federal Government’s record on investing to address skills shortages.
“Labor understands that skills are the currency of the modern global economy, Labor understands they are the key to fighting inflation, which is why Kevin Rudd is committed to an education revolution, including trades training centres in every secondary school in the country,” he said.
Campaigning in Tasmania with Minister for Small Business, Fran Bailey, this afternoon, the Prime Minister said the funds would further develop the Government’s Building Entrepreneurship in Small Business Program.