$10m project to forge highly-paid new industry

 

A WORKFORCE of highly-skilled aviation experts on six-figure salaries will be created if one key Queensland Government project becomes a reality.

Cairns is set to become home to one of three $10 million regional manufacturing hubs, alongside Townsville and Mackay.

An advanced composites repair and maintenance facility will form a major part of the centre, with aviation, maritime and agricultural industries pegged as the chief beneficiaries.

Hawker Pacific Licensed Aircraft Engineer Martin Klink and Apprentice Aircraft Engineer Demetris Nicolaou working on a Cessna Caravan in the Cairns facility. PICTURE: STEWART MCLEAN
Hawker Pacific Licensed Aircraft Engineer Martin Klink and Apprentice Aircraft Engineer Demetris Nicolaou working on a Cessna Caravan in the Cairns facility. PICTURE: STEWART MCLEAN

Cairns Aviation Skills Centre business manager Chris Piggott has been closely involved in the project's planning and will later help deliver the technical training required to forge new industries.

"Basically any advanced repairs on aviation composites such as helicopter blades, interior trim pieces, anything at all really, currently has to be sent down south," he said.

"A lot of stuff is made with composites these days, and we just don't have the capacity to work on them up here."

Mr Piggott said a business case would be developed with the State Government over the next two months.

It will identify what the funding should be used for - likely to be spent largely on specialised tooling.

"We've already had a lot of pre-meetings so we're pretty well advanced in our thinking," Mr Piggott said. "This will be producing people with an average wage of about $100,000.

"That's exactly what the economy up here needs."


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