Prime Minister Scott Morrison has helped to usher in a new era of advanced manufacturing education' training and research in Central Queensland today' with a flying visit to CQUniversity's Gladstone Marina campus.
The Prime Minister joined Federal Member for Flynn' Ken O'Dowd and CQUniversity Vice-Chancellor and President Professor Nick Klomp to turn the sod on the University's $13.5 million School of Advanced Manufacturing building' a Commonwealth Government-funded project that seeks to turbocharge advanced manufacturing capability in the region.
The School of Advanced Manufacturing in Gladstone will be complemented by a School of Mining at CQUniversity's Rockhampton North campus' with work set to commence on that site in the coming weeks.
Federal Member for Flynn Ken O'Dowd said the construction of both schools would provide a major economic boost to the region with hundreds of jobs to be created during the construction of both projects.
"Construction of the CQUniversity Schools of Mining and Advanced Manufacturing will create an estimated 311 local jobs in Central Queensland' including 114 in Gladstone' and inject millions of dollars into the local economy'" Mr O'Dowd said.
"Manufacturing supports thousands of jobs in the region and in the longer term' this new facility in Gladstone will further support Queenslanders to get an education that leads to a career in the manufacturing industry.
"This is a major win for Gladstone' Rockhampton and the broader Central Queensland region' with both Schools to deliver world class facilities' resources' and technology to support the education of the workforces of tomorrow."
CQUniversity's Vice-Chancellor and President' Professor Nick Klomp said the University was committed to the continued development of its regional campuses' and further investing in the new Schools of Mining and Advanced Manufacturing' to benefit the communities that rely on these industries.
"Mining remains a critical industry for Central Queensland' while advanced manufacturing is a clear growth opportunity for the region's future' with Gladstone positioned front and centre to take advantage of this.
"Establishing the School of Manufacturing in Gladstone will allow CQUniversity to develop the region's future manufacturing workforce' enhance our manufacturing research expertise' and support the manufacturing sector as it primes for future growth.
"By developing this facility' we are actively building our capacity to service industry' locally' in areas such as advanced instrumentation and process manufacturing training' advanced welding and manufacturing' and the emerging hydrogen industry'" Professor Klomp said.
Professor Klomp also explained that that the development of the new facilities was a direct result of CQUniversity's close engagement with community and industry.
"Through our work with industry and community' we developed a deep understanding of the region's needs when it came to industry development' skills training and regional growth' and using this knowledge we worked with Government to outline these needs and secure the required funding.
"Government support to fund projects such as this is absolutely critical for regional Australia – especially now as the economy begins the post-COVID recovery process.
"These projects will help to boost local economies and communities in the short-term while also supporting long-term industry growth and regional development outcomes.
"I look forward to continuing our deep engagement with community and industry and working with government at all levels to secure further commitments for major projects in regional Queensland' such as the development of a proposed Cairns CBD campus and a new hydrogen and renewable energy precinct to be located right here in Gladstone".
Acting CEO Craig Walker said Gladstone Ports Corporation (GPC) was proud to be supporting CQUniversity and their future development plans for the Marina.
"Our partnership with CQU is the key to enhancing future thinking and sustainable development and at GPC our mission is to create a sustainable future underpinned by a 50-year master plan'" Mr Walker said.
"In June' GPC and CQU signed a Memorandum of Understanding' strengthening a strong partnership for decades to come'" he said.
"The ability to collaborate and innovate together for the future is so important – it's the key to success.
"We have an important role to play in our community and with our local University' which we proudly support as they provide our region with enviable opportunities for study and jobs."
In total the Government has committed $30 million towards construction of both Schools with CQUniversity to contribute an additional $7 million.
Both the Gladstone and Rockhampton facilities will be constructed by–FDC Construction and Fitout (QLD) Pty Ltd.
The Gladstone School of Advanced Manufacturing is expected to be completed and operational by February 2022.