Regional manufacturing hub opens its doors in Townsville

Image Credit: Queensland Government
Media Release

The Palaszczuk Government today opened the Townsville Manufacturing Hub, the first of three $10 million regional hubs to help boost manufacturing productivity and innovation.

Minister for State Development, Manufacturing, Infrastructure and Planning Cameron Dick said the Townsville Manufacturing Hub, located at the TAFE Queensland Bohle campus, delivered on a 2017 election promise and helped to progress the government’s Advanced Manufacturing 10-Year Roadmap and Action Plan.

“Townsville businesses are powering ahead when it comes to manufacturing, contributing $840 million to Queensland’s economy in 2017-18,” Mr Dick said.

“They are also providing more than seven per cent of jobs in the region, from areas such as metal production and food products, and we want to grow the sector even more.

“Through the hub, manufacturers will gain access to advice and support, including business development and training programs, and tailored workforce skills to improve their productivity and international competitiveness.

“The hub will promote collaboration between industry with vocational, tertiary and secondary education providers such as Tec-NQ, to ensure our next generation workforce has strong skills in science, technology, engineering, arts and maths.”

Member for Mundingburra Coralee O’Rourke said the hub would help to propel regional manufacturing by harnessing opportunities in advanced metal production and food transformation.

“The hub will provide a catalyst for promoting and delivering world-leading technologies, processes and practices,” Mrs O’Rourke said.

“This includes the Internet of Things, automation and robotics, to boost manufacturing productivity and drive innovation.

“A local reference group will also be established to identify and ensure the needs of regional manufacturers are met.

“Hub staff will collaborate with and forge strategic links between local industry, government agencies, economic development agencies and education providers.”

Member for Townsville Scott Stewart said the hub team have already been supporting horticulture peak body Growcom and the CSIRO to develop The Centre of Excellence for Food Transformation.

“The facility will harness advances in food technology to reduce food waste in the vegetable supply chain,” Mr Stewart said.

“This will be done by converting locally grown fruit and vegetables into value-added products such as snacks, liquids and powders for health supplements and nutraceuticals.”

Operations manager for Townsville laser cutting business NEM Group, Elara Hughes, said the hub is helping the company continue the transition into Industry 4.0 through process improvements and new qualifications for staff.

“The hub will provide exciting opportunities for other regional manufacturers looking for support,” Ms Hughes said.

“I see a lot of value in creating a strong and collaborative ecosystem to lift industry’s capability and develop regional manufacturing.”

Member for Thuringowa Aaron Harper said the establishment of the regional hubs was part of the government’s commitment to supporting and growing Queensland’s manufacturing industry.

“To increase the capability of local manufacturers to undertake defence work, the Townsville Manufacturing Hub will have strategic links and work closely with the recently-opened Townsville Defence Hub,” Mr Harper said.

“Local manufacturers will also be able to access robotics and automation infrastructure through the services of the Advanced Robotics for Manufacturing (ARM) Hub in Brisbane, which is being developed in partnership with QUT and global leading-edge company Urban Art Projects (UAP).”

Regional manufacturing hubs are also established in Cairns and Rockhampton. Each is supported by a hub coordinator, a skills development and training officer and a project support officer working out of the region.

Mr Dick said the regional manufacturing hubs are another Palaszczuk Government initiative helping to grow and advance regional Queensland.

“I’m thrilled to be part of a government that actively promotes and supports our regions,” he said.