Jason Costigan
Jason Costigan

Costo pledges $6.5m for Airlie maritime college

Member for Whitsunday Jason Costigan today announced he would commit $6.5m towards the establishment of a North Australian Maritime College in Airlie Beach.

The $6.5m would be assisted by an already secured $2.5m in federal funding, and would hinge on NQ First securing the balance of power at the state election.

Mr Costigan said the money would "transform" the Whitsunday Sailing Club into a world class training institution, offering classes and on-site accommodation to students from around Northern Australia and potentially, overseas.

"In rebuilding our economy after COVID-19, we need to be playing to our strengths and investing in the future and the future for this community is in younger people who need training opportunities in things they are passionate about," he said.

"For many people, that passion is in the maritime industry, whether it's maritime engineering, hydrodynamics, global logistics, ocean seafaring or whatever.

"Ultimately, it is my vision to develop a world-class facility in the Whitsundays, potentially partnering with a university, that focuses on Northern Australia and the South West Pacific."

The MP said the Whitsunday Sailing Club had briefed him on their current plans to establish the Whitsunday Maritime Training Centre, however, but he had "decided to take it to another level."

He said rebranding the project would increase its international appeal.

"They have already secured $2.5m from the Federal Government and with our $6.5m commitment - subject to NQ First securing the balance of power - we have the foundations to get the ball rolling well and truly," he said.

"We (can) make a concerted effort in delivering this new college, thereby rejuvenating our economy and creating local jobs in the wake of COVID-19."

The funding would come from NQ First's $1b Building the North initiative, which Mr Costigan said was being unveiled in Rockhampton today as part of his party's $6b Real Royalties for Regions program.

"What we are doing is quarantining $6b in royalties for projects in North, Far North and Central Queensland and $1b of that will be specifically allocated to wide-ranging capital works projects - whether it's in health, education, emergency services, sport and recreation, whatever," he said.

"It's my hope that one day, we can look back and say this was a major turning point for the Whitsundays.

" … we took advantage of our strategic location in the world and churned out graduates who took our nation forward in the aftermath of coronavirus - economically and otherwise."

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