CQUniversity has welcomed an LNP commitment to fund construction of a state-of-the-art training hub in Mackay' as part of a pre-election pledge to create 450'000 new jobs in regional Australia.
The $9 million Mackay Electric Vehicle and Energy Training (MEVET) Centre will further strengthen the Northern Australia workforce' supplying the Mackay-Whitsunday region with around 100 skilled tradespeople each year.
CQUniversity's Vice-Chancellor' Professor Nick Klomp said today's funding commitment would provide the region with countless opportunities for training' re-skilling' and employment in the clean energy jobs of the future.
"MEVET will deliver the Mackay-Whitsunday region with the infrastructure it needs' to train local people to build' modify and maintain electrical vehicles and other alternative energy technologies.
"The Centre' to be built at the CQUniversity Mackay Ooralea campus' will provide the infrastructure and capacity the region needs to prepare its workforces for the coming clean energy revolution' particularly in heavy industry.
"Many of the biggest resource companies are converting their fleets to hybrid or electric vehicles in the medium term' and this presents a huge opportunity to create new jobs – but of course we need the facilities to train people for these jobs.
"Without workforces who can maintain this technology' the mainstream delivery and usage of this type of innovation would be unsustainable' and the environmental benefits would go unfulfilled. Today's announcement ensures that won't be the case in Mackay-Whitsunday.
"The MEVET Centre will position Mackay as a hub in regional Queensland for light and heavy electric vehicle training' establishing a locally grown pipeline of skilled workers and professionals now' ahead of time.
"The MEVET Centre will also cater to the growing interest in hybrid diesel electric and solar-powered engines in marine industries and passenger vehicles'" Professor Klomp said.
"I applaud the LNP for their commitment to regional job creation and the further strengthening of Northern Australia as an industrial powerhouse."
LNP Member for Capricornia' Michelle Landry said that investing in new training facilities will leverage greater economic benefits for the Mackay region.
"Today's announcement will be important in addressing the significant skills gaps the region faces and will provide new opportunities in the electric vehicle and renewable energy industries'" Assistant Minister Landry said.
"There are also opportunities for CQUniversity's mechanical engineering experts to conduct research and teaching related to the centre activities' an opportunity that could help to establish global partnerships and collaborations in the electric vehicle space."
LNP Candidate for Dawson' Andrew Willcox' said the commitment to invest in training for the future was welcomed.
"We want our young people to have every opportunity to learn new skills right here in the regions'" Mr Willcox said.
Once operational' the MEVET Centre will allow CQUniversity to deliver training in light and heavy electric vehicle maintenance and repairs' including underground mine haulage trucks; hydrogen fuel cell installation and repairs; maintenance and repair of hybrid engines; maintenance and operation of electric vehicle infrastructure such as charging stations; and installation and maintenance of alternative energy infrastructure including solar and wind.
Qualifications delivered via the centre will include Certificates and Diplomas in sustainable and renewable energy' and short courses in energy design and installation' hydrogen' and fuel cell safety and transportation.
It is expected that the construction of the MEVET will create up to 45 jobs with another 20 permanent jobs created in training' administration' and support once the Centre is established.
CQUniversity estimates that the Centre could be operational by 2024.
CQUniversity also welcomed another commitment from the LNP on the same day for a new CQU campus in the Cairns CBD' valued at $50 million.