National Agreement for Skills and Workforce Development (NASWD)

The National Agreement for Skills and Workforce Development (NASWD) identifies the long-term objectives of the Australian, state and territory governments in the areas of skills and workforce development.

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The NASWD objective is to support a vocational education and training (VET) system that delivers a productive and highly skilled workforce; which enables all working age Australians to develop the skills and qualifications needed to participate effectively in the labour market and contribute to Australia's economic future; and supports the achievement of increased rates of workforce participation.

Agreed by governments in 2012, the NASWD is a national agreement under the Intergovernmental Agreement of Federal Financial Relations.

Progress towards the NASWD targets are measured and publicly reported through the NASWD performance dashboard, maintained by the Productivity Commission.

The Australian, state and territory governments have committed to long-term skills reform to support the future growth and prosperity of our nation. Under the Heads of Agreement for Skills Reform, a new National Skills Agreement is due to be finalised by August 2021, with a transition period commencing from 1 January 2022.

The National Agreement is associated with the Skills and Workforce Development National Specific Purpose Payments (SPP), where the Australian Government provides funding of around $1.5 billion annually to state and territory governments to support them in the delivery of VET services and the running of their training systems.

Review of the NASWD

On 15 November 2019, the Treasurer, the Hon Josh Frydenberg MP, and the Minister for Employment, Skills, Small and Family Business, Senator the Hon Michaelia Cash, requested the Productivity Commission to review the NASWD.

Following an interim report released in June 2020 the Productivity Commission released its final report on the review of the NASWD on 21 January 2021.

The report has been acknowledged by the Australian Government which affirms the commitment all governments have made in the Heads of Agreement for Skills Reform.

The report is available on the Productivity Commission website.