AAP FactCheck

Restoring confidence in public statements by independently testing and verifying the facts

Does WA have the highest unemployment rate and yet is missing out on apprenticeship subsidies?

By James Lane and Louise Evans

The Statement

“The issue we had with it (the Australian Apprentice Wage Subsidy Trial) was that out of the 1600 places WA, a state that has the highest unemployment rate at the moment, only got 134 positions.”

One Nation WA Senator Peter Georgiou. April 28, 2019.

The Analysis

AAP FactCheck examined One Nation WA Senator Peter Georgiou’s claim that Western Australia has the highest unemployment rate of any state and yet is not receiving its fair share of a government program to subsidise apprenticeships. [1]

The Morrison government has pledged to invest a further $60 million to help small businesses employ another 1600 young apprentices in rural and regional areas under the Australian Apprentice Wage Subsidy Trial. Under the trial, eligible employers can receive a 75 per cent subsidy on first-year apprentice’s award wages. The trial promises to ensure a total of 3,200 young Australians in rural and regional areas secure apprenticeships. [2]

A government media release on April 26, 2019 states that of the first 1600 apprenticeships on offer "the program is already benefiting over 450 apprentices in NSW, over 330 in Victoria, over 400 in Queensland, over 100 in South Australia, Western Australia and Tasmania and around 50 apprentices in the Northern Territory." [2]

These figures support Senator Georgiou’s claim that WA received 134 apprenticeships from 1600 places so far, however AAP FactCheck was unable to independently verify the exact number of apprenticeships allocated to WA beyond the government’s stated figure of “over 100”.

Regarding the claim of unemployment, Australian Bureau of Statistics labour market data for March showed Western Australia had the third highest unemployment rate (6.0 per cent), behind Tasmania (6.7 per cent) and Queensland (6.1 per cent). [3]

In February, WA had the second highest unemployment rate (5.9 per cent) behind Tasmania (6.5 per cent), according to ABS data. In January, WA (6.9 per cent) again trailed Tasmania (7.0 per cent) which had the highest jobless rate. [4]

AAP Factcheck concludes Senator Georgiou’s claim WA is missing out on apprenticeships is true compared to the other states but his assertion his state has the highest unemployment is false.

The Verdict

  • Mostly False - Mostly false with one minor element of truth.

The References

1. ‘One Nation bags apprentice fund’, by Zoe Keenan. Kalgoorlie Miner. April 28, 2019: https://www.kalminer.com.au/?news/kalgoorlie-miner/one-nation-bags-apprentice-fund-ng-b881180580z

2. ‘More Regional Apprentices and Small Businesses to Benefit from Wage Subsidy Trial’ Liberal Party media release. April 26, 2019: https://www.liberal.org.au/latest-news/2019/04/26/more-regional-apprentices-and-small-businesses-benefit-wage-subsidy-trial

3. ‘Labour Market Information Portal. Unemployment Rates (15+) by State and Territory, March 2019’. Department of Jobs and Small Business. Australian Government: http://lmip.gov.au/default.aspx?LMIP/LFR_SAFOUR/LFR_UnemploymentRate

4. ‘6202.0 - Labour Force, Australia, Feb 2019. Labour Force Commentary February 2019’. Australian Bureau of Statistics. April 17, 2019: https://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.nsf/Previousproducts/6202.0Main%20Features2Feb%202019?opendocument&tabname=Summary&prodno=6202.0&issue=Feb%202019&num=&view=

  • First published May 2, 2019 17:29 AEST