MP Justine Elliot with St Joseph College Principal Eric Littler and the Year 9 industrial Class.
MP Justine Elliot with St Joseph College Principal Eric Littler and the Year 9 industrial Class. Contributed

Five new training centres worth $5m for Richmond

NEARLY $5 million in funding has been announced for five new Trade Training Centre's for schools in the Richmond electorate.

Labor MP Justine Elliot welcomed the announcement today.

The centres will offer an expansion of career options for students who wish to take up a trade or apprenticeship.

The five schools receiving the funding, which is included in the Budget, under 'Round Five Phase One' are:

Tweed River High School - $1million for the Tweed River Metals and Engineering Trade Training Centre.

Kingscliff High School - $975,000 for the Kingscliff Agriculture and Horticulture Trade Training Centre.

St Joseph's College - $1.5 million for the St Joseph's College Banora Point Trade Training Centre.

Lindisfarne Anglican Grammar School - $1,188,312 for the Lindisfarne Trade training Centre.

Shearwater, The Mullumbimby Steiner School - $301,000 for the Byron Trade Training Centre.

Mrs Elliot said Tony Abbott would cut training centre funding if elected.

"Federal Labor will continue to invest in new Trade Training Centres if re-elected to ensure local young people gain the skills they need to compete for the jobs of tomorrow," she said.

"This is in contrast to Tony Abbott and the Liberal Party who have announced that they will cut Trade Training Centres funding if elected on September 7.

"Trade Training Centres will address skill shortages in traditional trades and emerging industries by equipping schools with the state-of-the-art industry standard facilities they need."

Mrs Elliot added that Tweed employers would support the program.

"Schools are encouraged to work with local employers who can support the schools with expertise, equipment and provide on the job placements, school based apprenticeships and traineeships for local students," she said.

Mrs Elliot added that eligible low socio-economic secondary schools were prioritised in funding allocations.

Greens candidate for Richmond Dawn Walker said while training centres are an excellent idea, the manufacturing industry as a whole needed support.

"Trade Training Centres are an excellent facility to train our young people in the skills required for the 21st century in food production, manufacturing, housing and renewable energy development and implementation," she said.

"The important part of this equation though is to ensure that we have policies, such as the Greens, on affordable housing, local food production and Australian manufacturing to back up the training of these budding tradespeople with local jobs.

"With the current emphasis on the coal and gas mining boom and Australian farms being sold to overseas interests, the dollar has been forced up, manufacturers have been forced off shore and farmers are telling us that they can't compete with their Australian grown produce."

Independent federal candidate Kevin Skinner agreed the centres were an asset to the Tweed, but pondered the funding method.

"I think that's fantastic, it's a terrific thing. We need a boost of funds into schools," he said.

"I totally support the initiative; I just wonder where the funds are coming from.

"If I'm correct, we are $247 billion in debt, so where is the money coming from?"

Palmer United Party candidate Phil Allen said "these promises are years too late".

"Richmond has been badly neglected and the impact this has had on the area is plain for all to see," he said.

"Unemployment can not just be fixed by training alone now. The jobs are just no longer there.

"Facilitating employment opportunities through lower taxation and reduction in regulation on businesses needs to go hand in hand with education. Labor have missed the boat - by about 5 years."

Nationals candidate Matthew Fraser said the Coalition had committed to matching the government's schools funding package.

"I encourage investment in education and our children's future," he said

"Tony Abbott has today confirmed that the Coalition will not be cutting education spending. There are more education announcements to be made during the election campaign, and trade training is one aspect that will be covered and supported.

"Like all Labor's promises, I will believe it when I see it - especially considering the Rudd Government promised 2,650 trade training centres in 2007 and have delivered less than 10% of those."

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