$30 million investment to establish hubs to boost regional manufacturing

Regional Queensland’s manufacturing sector has received a $30 million boost, with the Palaszczuk Government delivering on an election commitment to establish hubs in Cairns, Townsville and Rockhampton to assist local manufacturers to grow their businesses and become more productive.

While announcing the establishment of the three hubs at each location today, Minister for State Development, Manufacturing, Infrastructure and Planning Cameron Dick said the hubs will provide a central place for local manufacturing businesses to receive expert advice and support to expand.

“Our government made a commitment to Queenslanders to establish manufacturing hubs in regional areas to drive this important sector while bolstering local economies, and we are delivering on that commitment,” he said.

“These hubs will provide a catalyst to promote and deliver world-leading technologies, processes and practices to manufacturers in these regions and attract increased private sector investment and jobs to Cairns, Townsville and Rockhampton.

“They will also ensure the manufacturing sector in each region continues to thrive well into the future, underpinned by the skilled workforce and networks needed to strengthen and evolve to meet market and industry demands.”

Mr Dick said through the hubs, regional manufacturers will have easy access to business development programs, skills and training and equipment.

“Each hub will develop strong links with local universities and schools to develop a workforce with strong skills in science, technology, engineering and maths,” he said.

“My department has consulted with local businesses, local governments, unions and educational institutions to develop the best model for capitalising on regional strengths in each city.”

Each hub will focus on strengthening key manufacturing sectors in each region, including:

  • the marine, aviation and food manufacturing industries in Cairns;
  • food transformation advanced manufacturing and advanced metal production manufacturing through Industry 4.0 and the Internet of Things in Townsville
  • rail manufacturing and technology, advanced technologies for metal production and food product innovation in Rockhampton

Minister for Training and Skills Development Shannon Fentiman said the new hubs will be a valuable asset to regional Queensland communities.

“This investment will assist local businesses to get the advice and support they need to grow and be able to employ more Queenslanders,” she said.

“TAFE Queensland and CQU TAFE provide world-class training to ensure we will have the skilled workforce to embrace the future of manufacturing.”

Mr Dick said Queensland’s manufacturing sector is worth $20 billion each year to the state economy and employs more than 179,000 people.

“Manufacturing in Queensland is diverse, with the top five employing sub-sectors being food product manufacturing, machinery and equipment, transport equipment, fabricated metal production and furniture,” he said.

“Around 15,100 more people have been employed in Queensland’s manufacturing sector over the past year alone – an increase of almost 10 per cent – so we know that this sector is growing and creating jobs.”

Head of Queensland’s Ai Group, and member of the Manufacturing Ministerial Committee, Shane Rodgers, said the hubs presented a great opportunity to help local manufacturers access emerging and diversified growth opportunities.

Mr Dick said the manufacturing hub model aligns closely with the Queensland Government’s $7.6 million Advanced Manufacturing 10-Year Roadmap and Action Plan.

“This government is committed to building the state’s manufacturing industry through practical initiatives such as Made in Queensland, a suite of Industry 4.0 programs, Design in Manufacturing, Women in Manufacturing and our Hackerspaces program.”

The $40 million Made in Queensland program has, to date, awarded $18.2 million, through 53 approved grants, helping to create an estimated 532 high-skill jobs. Regional manufacturers accounted for 22 of these approved grants totalling $6.6 million and over 280 high-skill jobs.

The hubs will each be staffed by a hub coordinator, a skills development and training officer and a project support officer in each location. Recruitment for these positions will begin soon, to plan for the opening of the hubs in early 2019.

Find out more about Queensland’s new manufacturing hubs by viewing the hubs delivery model here.

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