General News

14 May, 2023

Marine college gets $16m uplift

Extension and new course to ease skills shortage

By Nick Dalton

The entrance to the college.
The entrance to the college.

A CRITICAL skills shortage in the Cairns marine sector has received a $16 million boost. 

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said the Great Barrier Reef International Marine College would be expanded to deliver more maritime training. 

She said the investment, which was part of the upcoming 2023- 24 Queensland Budget, would involve a 2675sq m extension to the Portsmith college to include a new workshop, additional classrooms, offices and staff facilities, and a new boat shed. 

The expansion will be undertaken by Queensland’s construction arm, QBuild, and will support up to 37 jobs during the construction phase. and a legacy of training opportunities for the region. 

Construction is expected to start in the first quarter of 2024 and be completed in mid-2025. 

As well the college will partner with Maritime Safety Queensland (MSQ) and TAFE Queensland to make Certificate III in Maritime Operations (Integrated Rating) available in Queensland for the first time. 

“Today’s announcement is about more than bricks and mortar – it demonstrates our ongoing commitment to delivering worldclass education and training in the regions,” Ms Palaszczuk said. 

“This is about supporting and growing a vital Queensland sector, and ensuring these workers have every opportunity to participate in a locally-delivered, critical training program,” she said. 

An integrated rating ticket is an entry level certificate enabling people to work in the industry and one that needs to be revalidated every five years. 

Until now it has only been available in Tasmania, Newcastle and Perth which comes at a big cost for any employer or employee who is wanting to enter the industry. 

A lifeboat and DAVIT (crane) system, which are essential pieces of equipment needed to deliver the training, have been gifted by the Australian Navy via the Australian Maritime Union. 

It is anticipated that the Certificate III in Maritime Operations (Integrated Rating) will be offered in 2024. 

Cairns MP Michael Healy said the expansion would be “invaluable for the young people of Cairns”. 

“With significant investment of both state and federal governments into our marine precinct real and sustainable career pathways are available for the young people of Cairns, and it continues the diversification of our economy,” he said. 

Maritime Union Australia’s Queensland branch secretary Jason Miners said it was “a great boost for local jobs.” 

“The MUA, along with industry, identified critical skills shortages and we thank the Palaszczuk government for their commitment to addressing this,” he said. 

“As we have seen with the cost of living pressures, it’s critical to secure supply chains and a strong maritime industry can help to ensure that by reducing our reliance on overseas goods.”


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