Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison has declared his support for the mining industry, pledging $30 million for a new school for miners in Central Queensland.
The Central Queensland School of Mines and Manufacturing, for the Gladstone and Rockhampton regions, will focus on the topics of science, engineering and mathematics that are required for the industry.
The Prime Minister said the new school was part of the government’s plan for a stronger economy, assisting central Queensland citizens train locally and support more local jobs.
The construction phase of the school is expected to create up to 320 jobs, with Morrison saying the investment would also benefit workers in the Mackay and Bowen Basin regions.
“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,” he 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.”
It comes as the Liberal Party attempts to regain two marginal seats in the central Queensland district.
The school focuses on the community in the seat of Capricornia where Liberal MP Michelle Landry holds a slim margin of 0.63 per cent.
The Labor Party’s Russel Robertson is trying to sway the electorate after it was lost in 2013.
Central Queensland’s resources sector plays an imperative role in driving the region’s economy, providing 40,000 full-time jobs and contributing 37 per cent to Gross Regional Product.
The Queensland Resources Council (QRC) welcomed the announcement, saying it would be happy to work with the school and develop the skills of potential workers.
“We would welcome the opportunity to work with the School of Mines and Manufacturing to ensure the promised investment maximises the employment opportunities in the sector” QRC chief executive Ian Macfarlane said.
“Over the last 15 months, the resources sector has created a new job every 57 minutes. Despite increasing unemployment in Queensland, the resources sector continues to create jobs for Queensland men and women.”