Cash available for our local manufacturers to go next level
THE Rockhampton region is bursting with untapped manufacturing potential that Glenn Butcher is anxious to harness to get the economy pumping and create jobs.
After being elected as the Member for Gladstone in 2015, Mr Butcher has enjoyed a meteoric rise in the Queensland Government, taking on the newly created role as Minister for Regional Development and Manufacturing in Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk's Cabinet reshuffle last month.
With the COVID-19 pandemic impacting on manufacturing and supply chains, Mr Butcher said supporting Queensland manufacturing was more important than ever
In February, then-Minister for Manufacturing Cameron Dick opened the $10 million Rockhampton Manufacturing Hub at CQUniversity's North Rockhampton campus, unlocking a world of opportunities to help local manufacturers grow and improve their competitive edge.
Supporting the role of Rockhampton's hub, Mr Butcher said his government was providing $13.5 million worth of Made in Queensland grants to get manufacturing moving.
One of the grants he announced late last month was for 30-year-old Yeppoon food manufacturer Keppel Brand Products that received more than $370,000 towards the creation of six new local jobs.
Keppel Brand would use the money to purchase cutting-edge food processing and packaging equipment to expand its product offering by developing a new range of coated beef products, adding to its range of hot box food products currently stocked in more than 18,000 food outlets around the nation.
Another grant recipient was Rockhampton's Dobinsons Spring and Suspension that used its $592,000 grant to purchase an advanced cold coiling machine and furnace, pushing its daily coil spring output from 400 to 2000, creating 12 new jobs.
Two other CQ manufacturers received MiQ funding - Stanwell's Capricorn Sandstone Quarries received $252,198 and Paget's NQ Cranes received $161,370.
Mr Butcher said there were a number of other grant applications in the pipeline and more funding rounds to go so he urged local businesses to come forward.
"We've set up this fund in Rockhampton for a reason. We want to make sure Rockhampton has every opportunity for current manufacturers and new manufacturers to start getting employment opportunities on the ground, that's why we set this up. If anyone in the Rockhampton region has an interest or is looking to expand their business, for whatever region, we have three people that sit in that (CQUniversity) office that are waiting to hear from those people," he said.
"They have the expertise, the people that can train, all these opportunities are sitting in Rockhampton waiting for local businesses to come along and have a conversation with them."
Visit the regional manufacturing hubs web page to learn more.
Rockhampton MP Barry O'Rourke said the opening of the Rockhampton Manufacturing Hub was one of his 2017 election promises kept.
Mr O'Rurke said his government would always support manufacturing jobs in the region.
"Through the manufacturing hubs, we are turbocharging manufacturing in Central Queensland, making it easier for our local businesses to connect, upskill and innovate," he said.
"This means more jobs for locals, especially in those industries already well established in the region like rail, metal and food production."
Keppel MP Brittany Lauga said manufacturing was a vital sector for the region.
"Manufacturing in Central Queensland is a billion-dollar industry," Ms Lauga said.
"By helping our local manufacturers increase their productivity through improved processes, innovation and shared information and networks, we hope to see even more jobs created."
CQUniversity Senior Deputy Vice-Chancellor Alastair Dawson said the hub would be strongly linked to the university and its facilities like the Centre for Railway Engineering.
"Co-locating the hub on CQUniversity's Rockhampton North campus will give local manufacturers direct access to our world-class facilities," Mr Dawson said.
"This will give industry in Central Queensland the opportunity to invest in upskilling and building the workforce of tomorrow."
Rockhampton manufacturing company SMW Group's managing director Jack Trenaman said the hub would be a great asset to the region and to local businesses looking to upskill and scale up.
"Establishing this new hub means local manufacturers can access funding opportunities, advice and training to make our region's businesses bigger and better," Mr Trenaman said.
"And the more local businesses grow their capabilities, the more jobs we're creating for the Rocky region."
Premier Palaszczuk said a strong manufacturing sector meant jobs for Queenslanders.
"My government is determined to help our great State recover as an economic powerhouse and a strong manufacturing sector means jobs and more jobs for Queenslanders, which is what we need as we unite and recover from the pandemic," Ms Palaszczuk said.
"Queensland has a fantastic history of manufacturing and it is home to some of the most skilled workers in the world.
"We are committed to growing our manufacturing sector so that we remain globally competitive, our productivity is strong, and we continue to innovate through new technologies.
"Manufacturing in Queensland will help our great State recover as an economic powerhouse in the weeks and months head as we advance towards the new normal."
Since 2017, two rounds of the MIQ program have supported 75 manufacturing projects across the State. These projects will generate more than 930 new jobs over the next five years and approximately $92 million in private sector investment.
Sixty-one projects have been completed, with MIQ grant recipients reporting significant business improvements and job outcomes.
The Premier said she encouraged Queenslanders to support home grown manufacturers.
"That's because, if it's made in Queensland, it will support jobs, build our economy and keep our State moving forward."