Manufacturing hub set to propel Gladstone into the future
MANUFACTURING for industries including hydrogen, renewable energy and biofuels will propel Gladstone into the future, following the announcement of a new hub at CQUniversity by the Palaszczuk Government.
Regional Development and Manufacturing Minister Glenn Butcher said the hub would be a centre of expertise for advanced manufacturing, providing innovative training and advice.
"The Premier said part of my charter was to set up a manufacturing hub in Gladstone, particularly on the back of the industries we already have and we can develop," he said.
"Hydrogen, renewable energy and biofuels are the three focuses of this campus, which closely ties with a similar $10 million manufacturing hub at Rockhampton focusing on different areas.
"The idea of the hub is to give opportunities for existing and future businesses to get the skills, training and assistance to get their projects moving forward.
"We aim to take manufacturing to new heights in Gladstone and build on its reputation as an industrial powerhouse, utilising the harbour to potentially deliver projects all around the world."
Central Queensland University Vice-Chancellor Professor Nick Klomp said the hub's location at the university promoted collaboration between the manufacturing industry, education providers and researchers.
"Readying Gladstone's workforce to transition into advanced manufacturing requires dedication to innovation, transformation and continued learning," Prof Klomp said.
Mr Butcher added: "It also provides opportunities for CQUniversity to get involved in new types of manufacturing."
The COVID-19 crisis has seen a refocus on manufacturing locally, Mr Butcher said.
"A lot of companies, businesses and people are trying to make sure we don't have sovereign risk and we keep things getting manufactured here in Queensland and in particular Gladstone," he said.
"A lot of businesses have said they don't want to wait for things to be delivered from Asia or America, so we want to focus on companies who can deliver manufacturing locally.
"We want to see that people are given every possibility they can get, to either start up a business in manufacturing, or re-tool or re-skill their employees, to get more opportunities for manufacturing locally."
With manufacturing going through rapid changes using robotics, computer-controlled machines and lasers, Mr Butcher said the hub would develop the next generation of workers.
"All these kids coming out of schools with STEM skills, they're the type of people we want to ensure that are trained in these new advanced techniques and processes and that's what this hub will do," he said.
"If someone in Gladstone, or someone comes to town, and wants to set up a program with hydrogen, they will be able to come to the hub and get the help and guidance that they need."
Headed by skills development and training officer Mick Elliott, the Gladstone Manufacturing Hub will initially employ five people when it is launched in late July.
"Gladstone's Central Queensland University has a strong history in providing exceptional training and education," Mr Butcher said.
"The government will be hiring some of the space at the university's Trades Training Centre to house the hub."