Appendix B - Annual Report of the Trade Support Loans Program
Based on the requirements set out in the Trade Support Loans Act 2014, this report provides a summary of the administrative operation of the Trade Support Loans (TSL) program from 1 July 2019 to 30 June 2020.
The Australian Government’s TSL program provides Australian apprentices with access to an income-contingent loan over the course of their apprenticeship.
It meets the Government’s commitment to deliver improved productivity and competitiveness to the Australian economy by ensuring there are highly skilled individuals in priority trades where there are skills shortages.
The program provides financial support to eligible Australian apprentices to help with expenses associated with living, learning and completing an apprenticeship, and helps them focus on completing their trade qualification. To be eligible for TSL payments, Australian apprentices must:
live in Australia and be an Australian citizen, or the holder of a permanent visa
be undertaking one or more of the following:
Certificate III or IV qualification that leads to an occupation on the TSL priority list
Certificate II, III or IV agricultural qualification specified on the TSL priority list
Certificate II, III or IV horticulture qualification specified on the TSL priority list, while working in rural or regional Australia
meet the eligibility criteria outlined in the TSL program guidelines.
The program is governed by the Trade Support Loans Act 2014. Two legislative instruments are in place to administer the program. The:
Trade Support Loans Rules 2014, which provide for matters relating to qualification for trade support loans, granting loans, application forms and other matters
Trade Support Loans Priority List 2014, which is established and maintained by the Minister for Employment, Skills, Small and Family Business to determine occupations or qualifications that the Minister considers a high priority.
The Australian Apprenticeship Support Network (AASN), Department of Education, Skills and Employment, and Australian Taxation Office jointly deliver the TSL.
Operation of the program
Under the TSL, apprentices apply for a loan through their local AASN provider. Monthly instalment amounts depend on which year of their apprenticeship they are in. The loan amounts are highest in the early years of training to support apprentices while their wages are lower. Apprentices who successfully complete their apprenticeship will have their loan reduced by 20 per cent.
TSL payment rates
The TSL lifetime limit is set at $21,078 for 2019–20. The yearly and monthly instalment rates for Australian apprentices for 2019–20 are shown in Table B.1.
Table B.1: TSL payment rates, 2019–20
Yearly rate ($)
Monthly instalment rate ($)
Apprentices repay TSL through the taxation system when their income reaches the minimum income threshold. The threshold in 2019–20 was $45,880. Apprentices may also choose to make voluntary payments on the loan before they reach the repayment threshold. TSL debts are indexed annually in-line with the Consumer Price Index.
The TSL is in its sixth year and continues to provide eligible apprentices with substantial support, helping them with the costs of living and learning while undertaking an apprenticeship.
From program commencement to 30 June 2020, the department:
received and processed 124,273 successful TSL applications
made $1,031 million in payments to eligible apprentices.
In 2019–20, the department:
received and processed 15,802 TSL applications
applied a completion discount to 11,147 apprentices who successfully completed their apprenticeship.
There were 54,077 Australian apprentices who received a trade support loan payment during 2019–20.
Figures B.1 to B.6 detail the number of successful TSL applications received by quarter, calendar month, apprenticeship stage, state and territory, and age, as well as the number of trade support loan payments made by quarter.