Funding to help Cairns TAFE maritime bid set sail

The Palaszczuk Government has today committed funding to secure a lucrative Defence training contract for Cairns.

Member for Cairns Michael Healy today announced $100,000 for TAFE Queensland to bid for a contract that would create 17 local jobs.

The Palaszczuk Government will bid to provide training to about 160 students from the Pacific Islands who will crew 21 Guardian Patrol Boats under the Defence Cooperation Program with 12 Pacific Island nations.

Mr Healy said the training was currently delivered in Tasmania but said the contract ran out in December.

“Cairns is the perfect place for the Pacific Maritime Training Services program to come ashore,” he said.

“With a long history in marine industry excellence, we are home to a raft of world-class ship repair and maintenance facilities. It’s a no brainer.

“Today I’m calling on the Prime Minister to do the right thing and award this contract to Cairns.”

State Development Minister Kate Jones today inspected training facilities with Mr Healy and said the Palaszczuk Government had thrown its support behind the bid.

“It makes no sense to host maritime training for our Pacific Islander neighbours in Tasmania,” Ms Jones said.

“We’re investing in new infrastructure and partnering with the private sector to make Cairns a world-class hub for maritime training and maintenance.

“Not only would this contract would deliver thousands of dollars for local businesses, it would help to put Cairns on the map as a global hub for maritime training.”

If the bid is successful, TAFE Queensland will use facilities in Cairns to train Guardian Patrol Boat crews from across the Pacific region and offer pastoral care services for them before they hit the water as part of the Pacific Maritime Surveillance Program.

This initiative aligns with the Queensland Government’s Defence Industries 10-year Roadmap and Action Plan which is focused on growing capability in the state and supporting Queensland defence firms to access new opportunities and create new jobs.

Minister for Training and Skills Shannon Fentiman said it made sense for Cairns TAFE to win the Defence Cooperation Program contract.

“We know the maritime industry is growing in Queensland and that’s why we have invested in world class training facilities at the Cairns TAFE,” Ms Fentiman said.

“We have some of the best maritime training courses in the world and securing this contract would be a fantastic win for Cairns and local jobs in the far north.”

TAFE Queensland Chief Executive Mary Campbell said the $100,000 contribution from the Queensland Government will allow TAFE to engage a professional defence industries tender writer and content experts for the bid.

“Our facilities and personnel at the Great Barrier Reef International Marine College are the best in the country, and our tender will showcase that,” Ms Campbell said.

“We’re ready to provide all the maritime technical, seamanship, communications and management courses the crews require, as well as the warmest Far North Queensland hospitality.”

State Development Minister Kate Jones Jones said the maritime training contract would also buoy the Far North Queensland economy at a critical time.

“COVID-19 has had a huge impact on our economy,” Ms Jones said.

“Securing this tender is about investing in the future of Cairns and backing local jobs.”

The AusTender request for tenders for the Pacific Maritime Training Services program closes on 30 June 2020.

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