Leaders set out competing $23m manufacturing promises
MACKAY'S manufacturing industry was today the battleground in the fight for Queensland's leadership.
Just 2km separated Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk and LNP leader Deb Frecklington as they made $23 million in manufacturing election promises in Paget this morning.
While touring the De Goey Contractors worksite, Ms Palaszczuk said if re-elected she would invest $10 million in the hydrogen industry.
Ms Palaszczuk said the boost to the $25 million Hydrogen Industry Development Fund could establish Queensland as an international leader while also securing the state's domestic energy supply.
"The world is looking to hydrogen to fuel the future and we want them to get it from Queensland so we can create even more jobs in our regions," Ms Palaszczuk said.
"Jobs are at the heart of Queensland's plan for economic recovery.
"Jobs for today and jobs for the years and decades to come."
The fund allows businesses to apply for uncapped grants, with each project assessed to make sure it would stack up financially.
Ms Palaszczuk said the state-owned North Queensland Bulk Ports Corporation showed how Mackay was looking to the future, as it investigated how to export hydrogen from Abbot Point.
Mackay MP Julieanne Gilbert said the region was well positioned to pivot to this emerging industry.
"Mackay has got all of the resources here that would support the hydrogen industry," Mrs Gilbert said.
"We can make central Queensland famous as a global source for clean hydrogen energy and that could mean hundreds, or even thousands of regional jobs," she said.
As Ms Palaszczuk was announcing the hydrogen fund, her opponent Ms Frecklington was making her own $13 million manufacturing promise.
Ms Frecklington said if elected the LNP would provide $8 million for businesses developing new innovative projects and a further $5 million in grants for manufacturers to upgrade communication technology.
She said funding would give up to $25,000 to businesses investing in new communication hardware and software.
"If Queensland businesses are prepared to back themselves through innovation, the LNP is prepared to back them, dollar for dollar," Ms Frecklington said.
She said the two funding promises would encourage innovators like Mackay-based mining services company Mainetec.
Last year, Mainetec unveiled the "Hulk" excavator bucket - a lighter, stronger, safer and more environmentally-friendly excavator bucket.
Ms Frecklington said the product took two years to develop, but now the Mackay innovation was being sold around the world.
While regional businesses would have to compete against the southeast for a stake in the $13 million prize pool, Ms Frecklington said Mackay would still get its fair share.
"With me as Premier you can be assured I will back the regions," she said.