Auckland Hill and hydrogen centre share in $10m funding
Gladstone’s emerging hydrogen industry and waterfront precinct have each received a $5m boost from the Federal Government to enhance the local economy, job creation and economic diversification.
Deputy Prime Minister, Nationals Leader Michael McCormack was in the port city on Tuesday with Member for Flynn Ken O’Dowd and Mayor Matt Burnett to announce the funding aimed at strengthening economic growth post COVID.
Mr McCormack said the $10 million in funding would be used to establish a hydrogen knowledge centre and to beautify Auckland Hill.
The funding is part of the government’s Regional Recovery Partnerships $100 million program to fund 10 regions in Australia.
Mr McCormack said the funding would establish Gladstone as a hydrogen hub and provide locals and tourists with a premier waterfront precinct.
“This is bringing the best minds to Gladstone to develop this vital piece of the energy mix,” he said.
“Getting technologists to town, technologists who will potentially invest their expertise and experience in developing new cells for buses, for ferries, for cruise liners based on hydrogen.
Auckland Hill is a landmark that will be beautified for locals and tourists.
“We want people to experience Auckland Hill, to have better accessibility, especially for those older cruise ship tourists.
“We want them to see Central Queensland at its best, right here in Gladstone.”
Member for Flynn Ken O’Dowd said the funding would provide up to 70 jobs during construction of the projects.
“Auckland Hill does lack car parks, it does lack facilities in the cafe and these improvements will only enhance the whole area,” he said.
“A Central Queensland hydrogen knowledge base in Gladstone will help the region move to a future which will attract technologists to the region and provide a space for further research into hydrogen technology, which is an Australian Government priority.
“Gladstone makes a lot of money for the Queensland Government and the Australian Government, so this is a just reward.”
Gladstone Mayor Matt Burnett welcomed the funding announcement.
“Ten million dollars for Gladstone from the Federal Government is fantastic,” he said.
“Council, in partnership with the port and the Federal Government, will beautify Auckland Hill.
“Another $5 million will go towards our hydrogen knowledge centre, so thank you very much.”
Cr Burnett said council was in the process of transferring ownership of land at Auckland Hill to Gladstone Ports Corporation, which will contribute $5 million toward the project.
“The design has been done and we are completing the process to transfer the land to the Ports Corporation,” he said.
It is hoped the Auckland Hill revitalisation will be completed by June 2022, Mr McCormack said.