Construction commenced on new renewable energy and manufacturing facilities in Townsville

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Image credit: Queensland Government

Work on a $17.2 million expansion of TAFE Queensland’s Bohle campus has begun, comprising two new renewable energy and advanced manufacturing training and skills facilities. 

While in Townsville for Regional Cabinet, Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk, Ministers, and local MPs helped turn the sod on the new Hydrogen and Renewable Energy Training Facility and an Advanced Manufacturing Skills Lab to commemorate the start of construction.

“Our government is committed to seeing Queensland be a global leader when it comes to renewable energy, and that means kickstarting training now,” Premier Palaszczuk said.

Premier Palaszczuk stated that Townsville’s Bohle campus would be the State’s first TAFE to offer world-class facilities for training Queensland’s future workforce.

“There are so many opportunities for North Queensland as part of our landmark Energy and Jobs Plan, whether it’s in training, critical minerals, research, mining, exporting or manufacturing,” the Premier added.

A first for TAFE Queensland, the Queensland Government said the new $12.45 million Hydrogen and Renewable Energy Training Facility will assist the education required for the Queensland hydrogen industry, which is predicted to generate around $1.7 billion in annual exports by 2030.

“Regional Queensland is at the centre of this clean energy industrial revolution, unleashing 100,000 new jobs in hydrogen, renewables, manufacturing and critical minerals,” Minister for Energy, Renewables and Hydrogen Mick de Brenni said.

Minister de Brenni stated that renewable hydrogen would be used domestically in industries such as road transport and ammonia for fertiliser. Minister de Brenni added that it would also generate industrial heat and power for mining and steel production in the not-too-distant future.

The facility’s design will aim for a 5-star “Greenstar Buildings” certification and will include sustainable design elements that will power the building with renewable energy.

Member for Mundingburra and North Queensland Hydrogen Champion Les Walker said Townsville has enormous potential for building a green hydrogen sector, which is why investing in such facilities is critical.

“This investment will enable the delivery of cutting-edge, industry-leading training in North Queensland to meet industry needs,” Walker added.

According to the State Government, skilling Queenslanders for the future is vital to the State’s $62 billion Queensland Energy and Jobs Plan.

Meanwhile, the $4.74 million Advanced Manufacturing Skills Lab will enable advanced manufacturing of technology such as augmented reality, automation, and robotics.

“Manufacturing already contributes $20 billion a year, to the state’s economy and we want to see that grow even further. I’ve always said if we can make it in Queensland, we should,” Minister for Manufacturing Glenn Butcher said.

Minister Butcher stated that the Regional Manufacturing Hub and TAFE are co-located to create an essential link between North Queensland manufacturers and training facilities, which are set to get much better.

The State Government added that these facilities ensure Queensland has a workforce supply chain as it strives to become a renewable energy and technology powerhouse.

“Importantly, both the new Renewable Training Facility and Advanced Manufacturing Skills Lab will be co-located with Townsville’s Regional Manufacturing Hub, ensuring synergy between training and businesses,” Minister for Training and Skills Development Di Farmer said.

Minister Farmer added that the project would help the State Government’s Industry 4.0 objectives, enabling advanced manufacturers to combine big data and analytics with automation and robots, boosting cost, productivity, profitability, and operations.

With the new facilities, TAFE will be able to provide over 20 additional Skill Sets, Certificates, and diploma courses. The facilities are projected to be completed by the second half of 2023, generating 45 good jobs in the process.

“Bohle TAFE trains more than 2,000 trade apprentices each year and this means we can offer those apprentices more opportunities in the emerging industries of tomorrow by unlocking more than 20 new qualifications for the region,” Minister for Resources and Member for Townsville Scott Stewart said.

An existing manufacturing skills lab at Bohle TAFE will also be refurbished, with work expected to be completed by the end of the year.

“Investing in our TAFEs is about backing our young people with the skills they need to help land good jobs and support Townsville and North Queensland’s future,” Member for Thuringowa Aaron Harper stated.