Hub plans to manufacture jobs

Tari JeffersSouth Western Times
South West Development Commission chief executive Mellisa Teede believes an advanced manufacturing hub in the South West could create hundreds of highly-skilled jobs in the region.
Camera IconSouth West Development Commission chief executive Mellisa Teede believes an advanced manufacturing hub in the South West could create hundreds of highly-skilled jobs in the region. Credit: Ross Swanborough/The West Australian

Hundreds of high-skilled jobs could be manufactured in the Bunbury-Geographe area if a South West Development Commission plan comes together.

The commission is seeking funding from the State Government for a feasibility study into the potential for an advanced manufacturing and education hub in the region.

The South West Advanced Manufacturing Hub would be a precinct that provided businesses with access to a facility with the latest technologies under a common user facility, as well as training.

“If this project gets off the ground, it would be a major region-building and State-building project that would be a catalyst for creating hundreds of highly-skilled trade and technical jobs, including for apprentices who would have access to the latest skills training and technologies,” commission chief executive Mellisa Teede said.

“A game-changing economic infrastructure project of this kind would provide a facility for small-to-medium enterprises in the mining, equipment, technology and services and manufacturing sectors.”

The manufacturing sector already accounted for 9 per cent of South West employment and provided 42.5 per cent of regional exports including metal, chemical, food, beverages and sawmill products.

The commission is working with State Government, local government and industry to make a case for a feasibility study which — if approved — would take 12 months to complete.

Regional Development Minister Alannah MacTiernan said the region already had first-class manufacturing capabilities and the Government wanted to help build the sector to its full potential.

“An advanced manufacturing hub would help to diversify Bunbury’s economy,” she said.

“The South West Development Commission held a roundtable in Bunbury last month to scope out possibilities, building on the success of our Government’s advanced manufacturing roundtable in Bunbury in 2017.

“We will continue to work towards a feasibility study for this job-creating proposal.”

Bunbury City Council this week showed its support for the project by voting to provide $10,000 towards the feasibility study.

Ms Teede welcomed the support from the council and said it had shown great support during this process.

“A commitment from industry and local government and other relevant organisations demonstrates that locally this project is wanted,” she said.

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