Release type: Transcript

Date:

Doorstop – Marine Centre of Excellence Coomera TAFE Sod Turning

Ministers:

The Hon Stuart Robert MP
Minister for Employment, Workforce, Skills, Small and Family Business
Acting Minister for Education and Youth

Topics: Coomera Marine Centre of Excellence 


E&OE-------------------------------------

KAREN DICKINSON:

Good morning everybody and welcome to our Sod Turning event and just the beginning of our - the construction of our - new Coomera Marine Centre of Excellence. My name is Karen Dickinson, I’m the General Manager for TAFE Queensland here on the Gold Coast and it is my absolute pleasure to welcome you here today. Can I start by acknowledging the traditional custodians of the land that we’re meeting on and pay my respects to the Yugambeh language group and to elders past, present, and emerging, and we’re very lucky to live - or to work in this part of the world. Can I acknowledge Minister Stuart Robert. He’s the Federal Minister for Employment, Workforce, Skills, Small and Family Business. Our Minister, Di Farmer, Minister for Employment, Small Business, Training and Skills Development. Can I also acknowledge Minister Meaghan Scanlon, Minister for the Environment and the Great Barrier Reef and for - Minister for Science and Youth Affairs. There are lots of fantastic people here today. We are a small group, but a big group. Can I acknowledge all of our - Warwick Agnew, the Director General of DESBT, welcome. All our industry partners, and fantastic that we’ve got Maritimo, the Gold Coast City Marina, Riviera, and – one more – The Boat Works. I think Charlotte might be here somewhere. So, welcome. It’s fantastic to have you all here today.

Can I also acknowledge Dr Tom from State Development, and Michael from the Boating Industry Association. So, lots of pretty amazing people here today. And my colleagues who sit on the steering group that oversees what's happening here with the development of the Coomera Marine Centre, and that includes people from QBuild and from DESBT and from TAFE Queensland. So, welcome to my esteemed member colleagues. And finally to all the staff and the students, I'm not sure- I thought we were going to have a few students here today. We do? Yes, so fantastic. We’ve got some students here. Welcome to this very exciting event.

I certainly won’t be saying too many words other than to say on behalf of all my colleagues here on the Gold Coast, at TAFE Queensland, we are so excited about this facility being established. It's a $11.8 million investment. It's one that we have been planning for many years and it is so fantastic to get to this point of actually, you know, sod turning and getting on with it. We have - the whole area of marine industry construction has just been going off. So all the people that are working in that industry here on the Gold Coast would know - I mean, you're obviously really flat out and busy and we're, you know, as a training institute supporting a lot of the training delivery. Our numbers have gone from 260 last year to 320 this year, and we have both apprentices and we have international students that we are supporting in our training delivery.

So very exciting time. We anticipate by the time we move into this facility at the beginning of next year, our numbers are going to be up at the 400 mark. So it's a growing industry and one that we are very pleased to be supporting. Can I finally just a big call out to the teachers here today, and I know - I haven't seen Darren, but Greg's here. Oh, there you are. Hello. Just to say thank you so much because I know that at the moment, because the demand is so great, our team is actually working from 6am to 6pm, and this is usually unheard of that people are working such long hours. So we've got one course that starts at 7am and finishes that, I think, 2pm, and another one that starts at 11am - people are showing fingers - and starts at 11am and finishes at 6pm. So, you know, we're doing all we can to try and support local industry. Actually, it's not just local industry, we actually provide training in marine construction to the whole of the state, and we have even people coming interstate to train with us here on the Gold Coast. So that's the end of what I want to say, other than we are super excited. Can't wait for this to get started. And on that note, I'd like to welcome Minister Stuart Robert to say a few words.

MINISTER ROBERT:

Thank you. Great to join my state cabinet colleagues, Di Farmer and, of course, Minister Scanlon. Great to see Michael Crandon, the local state member, to the TAFE Queensland staff, all the boat builders at the back there who've been doing this for a long time. Wonderful to be able to come and launch a superb project, a great partnership between the state of Queensland and the Federal Government as part of the TAFE revitalisation project. It’s a joint $100 million, 50 million from the Federal Government and 50 from the states and territories, to sink into TAFE projects around the country and I think of all of them, this one is a key standout. The Gold Coast is the boat building capital of Australia. It's the boating capital of Australia. It's the super yacht capital of Australia. And here we are, investing in the skills and training to continue to build in to our nation leading position. We are a world class exporter of quality boats, and the old men and women at the back there, the old boat builders have been doing this for a while, a testimony to the wonderful work they're doing. And yes, you lads are old. I’m looking at Phil over in the back there.

[Laughter]

UNIDENTIFIED SPEAKER:

Thank you.

MINISTER ROBERT:           

They've been doing it for a while through thick and thin, and it is extraordinary the results that they're achieving. And a purpose built campus here with TAFE Queensland to build into that training pipeline is superb. 

And that training pipeline is growing, again, with an outstanding partnership with the Queensland Government through JobTrainer, Di. We've been 50:50. It's a $2 billion fund across the Commonwealth and states and territories. There are over 300,000 young Australians right now doing training from diplomas in education, diplomas in nursing, Cert III in attendant care, and of course, Certificate III or apprenticeships in boat building, all is part of that $2 billion investment, which is superb. 55 per cent of those 300,000 plus are women, and we're seeing a resurgence in women especially working into non-traditional trades, which is magic. 

220,000 trade apprentices right now across the country as the state and Commonwealth government partner together on this, the highest number of trade apprentices the country has ever seen since records were kept in 1963. 

There's a lot more to do. There’s an enormous amount of work going into boosting Australian apprenticeships. The Commonwealth Government's got record funding of $7.8 billion this year. Di, I know you've got record funding at a state level because we're partnering so well on so many of these initiatives, and this is one of those great examples. So well done TAFE Queensland, looking forward to coming back. I'm informed you'll be at lockup by May, so we should all come back and make sure it's locked up and this is just my way of making sure you get to lock up by May. But well done. Di, great partnership. Superb.

KAREN DICKINSON:

Thank you, Minister, and can I introduce Minister Di Farmer, our Minister for Training and Skills Development. Di.

DI FARMER:

Thanks so much, Karen, and I acknowledge the Yugambeh people and pay my respects to elders past, present and emerging. I acknowledge our First Nations people as the oldest continuing culture in the world. To my parliamentary colleagues – I’m not going to actually say their titles, because they all have about six or seven kind of things in them, and I won’t be able to remember – but, Stuart Robert, who I work with at a national level. To my friend Meaghan Scanlon, who’s a minister, and of course, local member. My other friend and parliamentary colleague – he’s on the other side of politics to me, but we’re good mates – Michael, very proud local member, I know. To my Director General Warwick, to Karen, who I don’t even know how many times I come down to the Gold Coast. There is so many fantastic things to see here, Karen does a great job. To all the people from industry who are here, to the teachers – and I know there are some students here, as well. I think we’ve just all been looking forward to this so much, and it’s a fantastic partnership that we can go 50-50. There is so much to do – $11.8 million facility, and the state government’s putting in $6.4 million – but it is just such a great example of what we do in Queensland to look at where - what are the jobs that are in demand, what are the high growth industries, how do we have to build those facilities to actually meet those needs, and how do we do the right training? Because we all know that it’s all very well to have these great jobs and great industry growth, but if you haven’t got people with the right training and the right skills, then none of it is going to happen. And it’s why I’m so proud to actually have this portfolio.

But here, in terms of the marine industry, we already know our superyacht strategy in Queensland has targeted that - has projected that - Queensland is going to be one of the most important marine hubs in the entire Asia-Pacific. But just talking to people down here today, just hearing about how the demand has absolutely exploded and just speaking to one of our teachers before, just hearing, and I think the way you put that was industry and the marine industry is willing to put the money in to make this a first-class industry down here, and we need to do the same and make sure that we're providing really high-class facilities. So can - I have to tell you, I'm going to do a few marine puns…

[Laughter]

…and everyone's been so excited. We've had, you know, TAFE is at the helm of opportunity here. All hands on deck to get this started. We have the ocean of opportunity - and I am going to do some of these because my media adviser took great delight and also one of our department people. So we do have an ocean of opportunity because we are going to have, as Karen says, up to 500 students actually doing marine construction and related services. 

So we've got the whole gamut here – electrical and mechanical work, fibreglass and lamination, marine textiles and upholstery, outdoor boat workshop. And of course, it's not only those facilities; because of our free TAFE for under 25s and our VET in school program, anyone who's eligible will be able to do those relevant courses for free. Because those programs are aimed at looking at what are the skills we need and those courses are for free, because we need those people doing it. 

And everybody - it's not just in Queensland, but in Australia. We're talking about labour shortages, which is why our investment in skills and training is just so important. So free marine craft construction, free automotive vocational prep, free marine mechanical technology. So, so exciting. I think they'll be working 36 hours a day to get to the May deadline, Stuart. But I know - I think that the personal investment in this is just so important. 

Look, I really want to congratulate TAFE on the Gold Coast. I do seem to be coming down here all the time to do sub-terms or look at things. I think we've spent $27 million here in the last year in terms of completed facilities. So we've got the nursing and allied health at Southport. We've got the trade training facilities at Ashmore and the Plumbing Tower, which is another federal-state partnership, Stuart.

And we're doing this all over Queensland: $225 million worth of facilities put together on the same premise. What are the jobs that we need in the future? What are the skills we need to provide? And let's get that infrastructure there. Let's upgrade our facilities and make sure that Queensland is really positioned to take advantage of those opportunities in the future. So, as I said, all hands on deck for construction by mid-year, and a fantastic opportunity for marine workers to be part of a global industry without having to leave their home port.

[Laughter]

So thanks everybody. Looking forward to this odd term.

[Applause]

UNIDENTIFIED SPEAKER:

Well said, Di. You need a new lead-in, guys.

[Laughter]

KAREN DICKINSON:

Too funny. Can I ask Minister Scanlon, Minister for Youth and Science and the Environment and the Great Barrier Reef, to come and say a few words.

MEAGHAN SCANLON:

Thanks, Karen, I'll keep it very short, and just want to say a big congratulations to everyone here, to the Commonwealth and of course, my colleague Di Farmer for this investment. I grew up on the Gold Coast and I didn't go to TAFE, and part of the reason I didn't go to TAFE was because at the time, I didn't really see it as a real opportunity to, sort of, get the training I needed to get the jobs of the future. But I think that's really dramatically changed with the way that TAFE is now pitching to the next generation. These world-class facilities make it a really valuable place for people to come. So that didn't happen by accident; it happened because of all of the people here today. So I just want to congratulate all of you for your efforts, and good luck. Very much look forward to being at the opening, hopefully on time and on budget. Thanks.

[Applause]

KAREN DICKINSON:

Thanks so much to all of our ministers for your words today, and we really do appreciate the investment of $11.8 million that's been made in the facility here. So thanks so much to the federal and state government. Now we are going to go and do the old sod turning at the back there, but please stay around because I believe our ministers are going to be here to have a chat to everyone, just for, you know, 10, 15 minutes. But we’re going to proceed now to - there's a large bit of soil at the back there, and we're going to go and do some sod turning and get the show started.