The Queensland Government will invest more funding to train and upskill heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) apprentices if it is re-elected in November 2017.

The Queensland Government said it will invest more than $90 million to redevelop and refurbish TAFE campuses, and provide more training opportunities for young workers across the state.

Queensland Premier, Annastacia Palaszczuk said a new training policy would provide $85 million over three years to fund campus redevelopment and refurbishment work at Pimlico (Townsville), Cairns, Mount Gravatt, Toowoomba, Redlands and Gold Coast TAFE campuses.

The plan includes a $4 million investment in a new plumbing and fire safety training facility at Beenleigh.

“This investment, matched by industry, will build the Plumbing Industry Climate Action Centre industry-leading training centre, with capacity for 700 trainees and apprentices each year.”

The centre will train plumbing, heating, ventilation, air conditioning and regulation (HVAC) HVAC and fire protection apprentices, and upskill existing workers.

Ms Palaszczuk said the plan would make sure people in Queensland have the training and skills they need to get a job.

“We want TAFE to be the premium provider of training in this state, and the initiatives I’m announcing today will ensure our facilities are modern, fit-for-purpose and flexible,” Ms Palaszczuk said.

Ms Palaszczuk said other initiatives in the announcement include:

  • Reinvigorating the traditional apprenticeship system, employing up to 40 new apprentices in the Department of Housing and Public Works’ Building and Asset Services (BAS) over three years
  • Providing extra resources to ensure contractors comply with the Building and Construction Training Policy

Parliamentary inquiry into Tasmanian Irrigation

A parliamentary inquiry could be established in response to farmer concerns with Tasmanian Irrigation (TI).

According to an article published in Weekly Times on 17 November 2017 , a motion has been put forward by Tasmania Legislative Council Independent Upper House Member, Greg Hall, to set up a Legislative Council select committee inquiry into TI.

The committee will look at the issue of water rights and other associated assets currently administered by TI.

The Weekly Times reported Mr Hall will chair the committee, which will include Upper House members Ivan Dean, Craig Farrell, Leonie Hiscutt and Tania Rattray.

Mr Hall will aim to look at concerns raised by farmers including the management of the state’s irrigation schemes, the costs relating to that and the future role of TI.

“TI was originally set up to design and construct these schemes with an inflow of federal and farmer money, and in essence that has now been completed,” he said.

“Now some people are asking what the reason is for its continued existence and where to from here for TI.

“I accept there are a range of opinions on that and I’m not going to pre-empt where a committee might land on this.”

Tasmanian Irrigation chief executive officer, Nicola Morris, said the inquiry was a great opportunity.

“There is a perception that all we do is turn on a tap, but there is obviously a huge amount more involved than that,” she said.

“We see this as a very good opportunity for us to improve the understanding and knowledge about the core functions and responsibilities of TI.”

Once the inquiry is completed, the committee will prepare a report for the State Government that will include key recommendations. 

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