State Development Minister Anthony Lynham praised Maryborough's Downer Rail.
State Development Minister Anthony Lynham praised Maryborough's Downer Rail. Valerie Horton

South dominates manufacturing grants applications

ONLY six manufacturing businesses from outside southern Queensland applied for a State Government grant scheme.

State Development Minister Anthony Lynham told parliament in Brisbane on Thursday that the government had received 50 applications for the Made in Queensland manufacturing industry grant - 44 of them came from businesses on the Darling Downs, south-west or south-east Queensland.

Although Mr Lynham said the grant was designed to create jobs, shadow treasurer Scott Emerson said new jobs figures showed employment was going backwards under this government.

Mr Lynham said he wanted business across regional Queensland to apply for the manufacturing grants.

He said Queensland's manufacturing sector employs about 170,000 people and was "particularly strong” in regional areas.

He pointed to the Downer Rail facility in Maryborough as an example of growing Queensland's manufacturing base.

"Downer Rail is one of Australia's largest manufacturers of rolling stock. I was there earlier this month ... and Downer Rail showed us brand new cutting edge machinery,” he said.

"This is allowing the company to fulfil three new contracts worth almost $1 billion over the next 10 years. This investment is creating up to 60 new jobs in the region.

"Mr Speaker, that's the job creation we want to see.”

But Mr Emerson said new jobs figures showed 30,000 full time Queensland jobs disappeared in January.

"People are giving up looking for work in record numbers and unemployment is increasing, which is worrying news for Queensland,” he said.

"It's hardly surprising things have got so bad here in Queensland - Labor has slashed $3 billion from infrastructure spending and its do-nothing approach has driven business confidence to rock bottom.”

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