The Australian government is delivering on its plan to create a more effective and efficient skills and training system with a focus on providing practical, job-ready skills that employers want, Minister for Industry Ian Macfarlane announced in a statement Thursday. Macfarlane on Thursday chaired the inaugural meeting of the COAG (Council of Australian Governments) Industry and Skills Council in Brisbane, attended by State and Territory Ministers. The Council was created after a streamlining of the COAG structure announced in December last year, putting greater emphasis on national priorities and delivering practical outcomes. According to him, the Australian governments have made a new commitment to ensuring that industry has the skilled workforce and operating environment it needs to boost the nation's productivity and increase international competitiveness. The Council agreed on objectives to reform the vocational education and training (VET) sector which under six years of Labor became over regulated and complicated, which has in turn discouraged businesses from undertaking new training programs, the statement said. Macfarlane confirmed that the Australian government understands that building a highly skilled workforce is central to driving business innovation and industry expansion. "We want to encourage more businesses to engage in training, which will create new job opportunities and boost Australia's international competitiveness across a range of industries," Macfarlane said. "Through our VET reform process we're working with stakeholders to build a flexible, high quality national training system," he added.