NSW Labor pledge $43m to Manufacturing Centres of Excellence

Joseph Brookes
Senior Reporter

Up to 1000 apprentices a year would be trained for free at upgraded TAFE manufacturing facilities in Western Sydney, the Hunter and the Illawarra if Labor wins next month’s state election.

The $42.7 million Manufacturing Centres of Excellence pledge made on Monday includes upgrading three facilities to train students in traditional and advanced manufacturing techniques and technologies.

The new apprentices would complement the party’s pledge to boost domestic manufacturing, particularly within rail manufacturing after both Queensland and Victoria Labor governments increased jobs in the sector with local content targets.

NSW Labor Leader Chris Minns. Image: Facebook

“I want to build trains, buses ferries right here. But it’s going to take a government with the political will to do – and I am determined to,” Labor leader Chriss Minns said.

“Our state has missed out on the skills, the jobs and the work because of this government’s obsession with offshoring transport projects.”

The election commitment includes $42.7 million towards upgrading and fitting-out three facilities to cater for 1,000 students a year.

The centres will offer free courses like mechanical engineering and electrical fitting.

The state opposition has criticised the pace of the Perrottet government’s response to manufacturing as “all glossy brochures and no substance”, including a protracted Modern Manufacturing plan.

“This Liberal Government has neglected our manufacturing industry for the past 12 years. This has led to job losses and a decline in skills and training opportunities for NSW workers,” Shadow Minister for Industry and Trade Anoulack Chanthivong said.

“Only a Minns Labor Government will revive our manufacturing industry, build a resilient future economy, and provide employment and training opportunities for the future.”

The three Manufacturing Centres of Excellence are planned to complement the building of more trains in the state, including a target of 50 per cent minimum local content for future transport rolling stock contracts.

The rail push comes as the federal Labor government also looks for more domestic rail manufacturing through a coordinated approach and a National Reconstruction Fund that will allocate billions to advanced manufacturing and transport.

New South Wales Labor has also pledged to change government procurement, including more weighting to local content and jobs creation, and a new independent body to oversee the growth of local industries and support businesses to bid for government tenders.

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