The Palaszczuk government has announced an Accelerated Works Program for public projects that will create 430 jobs in North Queensland. This is part of a five-point plan to stimulate employment across the region.
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said on Wednesday (January 20) that an extra $126 million will be invested in the Accelerated Works Program, which is in addition to $61 million pledged to the scheme earlier this month. One of the primary ventures to receive financial support is a substantial upgrade to the Port of Townsville’s Berth 4.
Ms Palaszczuk revealed that the port project is valued at $55 million and would create 100 jobs in Queensland. Tenders for the initiative closed on January 21 and the successful bidder will be awarded the contract in February.
Moreover, Townsville will benefit from a range of schemes scheduled for delivery over the coming months. Last Thursday (January 21), Main Roads, Road Safety and Ports Minister Mark Bailey said $77.6 million of accelerated road projects had received approval.
The 11 projects are expected to generate approximately 243 Queensland-based jobs, which Mr Bailey said is particularly good news for locals who are “feeling the pinch” in Townsville. Key initiatives include the development of overtaking lanes on the Bruce Highway between north of Ayr and Ingham, as well as the replacement of Arnot Creek Bridge to the south of Ingham.
Skills development in North Queensland
The five-point plan could also benefit apprentices and trainees in the region, with the Palaszczuk government committed to bringing forward retraining and skills initiatives. The schemes are part of the Skilling Queenslanders for Work program, which aims to find employment for 32,000 people in the state over a four-year period.
According to the state government, under-represented workforce demographics are a special focus. This includes disabled people, mature-age jobseekers and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.
Ministers are also keen to emphasise the opportunities available in the tourism industry as part of the five-point plan. The government has pledged $400 million to Tourism and Events Queensland, which will bring funding to a range of statewide and regionally focused ventures.
Furthermore, various public-private partnerships are under consideration, as the Queensland government looks to fast-track proposed capital works projects. In addition, Queensland is hoping to attract Commonwealth financing for multiple North Queensland initiatives, including the Townsville Stadium, for which the federal government has already matched state funding.
By Leanne Macnamara, Public Relations Coordinator