Gladstone and Rockhampton are set for a local skills boost with a new school that will help take advantage of Central Queensland’s resources sector and support more local jobs.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the Liberal National Government would deliver $30 million for the new CQUniversity School of Mines and Manufacturing – Gladstone and Rockhampton.

The Prime Minister said the new School was part of the Government’s plan for a stronger economy that would help Central Queenslanders train locally in industries supporting more local jobs, as well as helping create up to 320 jobs in the construction phase. The Prime Minister said the investment would also benefit workers in the Mackay region and Bowen Basin.

“The $30 million we’ve committed to this new School is about creating pathways for Central Queenslanders to get the skills they need to succeed,” the Prime Minister said.

“We want to be a country that manufactures things like aluminium and develop world class resources so we need to invest in regional jobs and skills. This new School will give workers and young people the skills across traditional trades and emerging technologies that are so important.

“The science, engineering and mathematics skills this new School can help train are key to the success of the future of our mining, resources and manufacturing industries that our candidates like Ken O’Dowd and Michelle Landry are fighting hard for.”

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Federal Member for Flynn Ken O’Dowd said Central Queensland was one of the country’s key centres that supported smelting and refinery as well as LNG production and manufacturing.

“This investment will support hundreds of small and medium sized business and thousands of jobs,” Mr O’Dowd said.

In Central Queensland the resources sector is estimated to contribute 37 per cent of Gross Regional Product and 40,000 full-time jobs. The mining, resources and manufacturing sector delivers the highest paying jobs to Central Queenslanders.

Federal Member for Capricornia Michelle Landry said the announcement solidified the Liberal National Party’s commitment to Central Queensland’s progressive and productive mining sector.

“Building the capacity of local workers to make best use of new tools is the key to unlocking future productivity, developing new resources, sustained jobs growth, and national prosperity,” Ms Landry said.

“Central Queensland is full of world-leading miners and support industries and this investment by the LNP will ensure this remains the case for decades to come, giving certainty back to our miners.”

Minister for Resources and Northern Australia Matt Canavan said the investment in Central Queensland would help the whole of Australia.

“This investment will allow Australia to have the right skills to take advantage of booming demand for high quality Australian commodities,” Minister Canavan said.

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“This includes growing demand for our traditionally strong exports of coal, iron ore, gas, gold and copper. There is also surging demand for commodities that help drive modern products like lithium, nickel and rare earths.”

The support will also allow CQUniversity to expand training to support the mining sector as well as emerging jobs and industries such as hydrogen and critical minerals.

Under the Liberal National Government’s stable economic management the resources sector has boomed, generating an extra $100 billion a year in exports since 2013. Mining accounts for almost 10 per cent of GDP, and drives Australia’s exports. Mining employs over 240,000 Australians and pays the highest wages in our economy, with many of these jobs being in regional and remote Australia.

The resources sector generates the economic wealth that ensures that the Government is able to invest in essential services including schools and hospitals and infrastructure such as new roads and transport.

Only the Liberal National Government has the policies to keep the Australian resources and mining sector as a world leader and deliver the wealth, exports and high wage jobs that underpin the prosperity of all Australians.

The Liberal National Government’s plan to support the resources sector include:
· Through our National Resources Statement, setting out Australia’s first resource industry policy framework in over twenty years.
· Developing a Critical Minerals Strategy to promote investment in Australia’s critical mineral resources, with up to $20 million in CRC Project grants.
· Investing $100 million to produce new pre-competitive geoscience data through Geoscience Australia’s Exploring for the Future program.
· Supporting Industry Growth Centres to drive innovation, competitiveness, productivity and sustainability; encouraging commercialisation; and promote the industry globally to develop investment pathways.

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The Liberal National Government has introduced legislation to give those employed ‘part-time’ in the mining workforce the right to convert to permanent roles. These changes will protect not just the industry, but also jobs and individual workers.

We are also working with industry to undertake a skills mapping exercise that will ensure that universities and VET providers will meet the long term needs of the resources sector.

The Labor Party and the Greens do not support mining jobs or the tens of thousands of Australians and their communities in regional Australia who are supported by the mining sector.

Labor’s Mining Tax damaged Australia’s reputation as a destination for investment. Economic modelling shows Labor’s reckless target, a 45 per cent emissions target and a 50 per cent renewable energy target will devastate regional Australia, wiping out energy intensive resource and manufacturing industries across the country.