Northerners urged to speak out

It is vital that North Queensland businesses make their voices heard in the consultation process for the new Industry Skills Fund, North Queensland based Senator Ian Macdonald urged today.

 Senator Macdonald said that the government was looking for input on the design and implementation of the new fund to be sure that it meets the needs of a rapidly changing business environment.

 “Nowhere is this more apparent than in the North,” Senator Macdonald said.

 “With new markets being opened up across Asia and the Pacific for our agricultural produce, technology changing the way we do business with increasing rapidity and the burgeoning growth of the tropical health and medical research industries, it is very important that the interests of Northern Australia are taken into account in this program.”

 Senator Macdonald said that the Minister for Industry, Ian Macfarlane, had today released a discussion paper on the structure of the Fund which provided the details on various aspects of the proposal.

 “I urge all North Queenslanders with business interests to get a copy of this discussion paper and make a submission on what they see as their requirements for this landmark fund,” Senator Macdonald said.

 “We are working with business to identify and capitalise on the opportunities which will help us to develop the untapped potential of Northern Australia.

 “To do this effectively we must have input from  those on the ground who can see the best way to make the most of the global opportunities of the 21st century.”

Senator Macdonald said the Industry Skills Fund would provide up to 200,000 training places and support services over four years for businesses to improve their productivity.

 “We know that a key to improved productivity is to have a workforce which is trained to meet the technological challenges, and this Fund will address that requirement,” he said.

 Copies of the discussion paper can be found HERE – submissions close on September 7 and the Fund will begin operation on January 1, 2015

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