Prime Minister, Anthony Albanese and Member for Newcastle, Sharon Claydon, addressed the National Reconstruction Fund (NRF) at a press conference at Varley in Newcastle yesterday.
“This is a site, as is our city in our region, that plays a really critical role in terms of manufacturing for this nation and shaping the future,” Claydon said.
“Initiatives like the $15 billion National Reconstruction Fund are vitally important to workers in our region, to companies like Varley, who are showcasing excellence in manufacturing wherever we go,” she said.
The Prime Minister spoke about the importance of a future made in Australia.
“There is nothing we can do that is more important than making more things here and this decade will determine whether Australia moves forward or whether we stand still, and the world moves past us,” he said.
“We imported trains and they don’t fit through the tunnels; they don’t match the stations.
“We also have to fix up some of the trains that are used to cart our resources because they’re the wrong size,” Albanese said.
The Prime Minister celebrated Varley and its potential to manufacture trains for New South Wales locally and its capabilities for defence, marine and a vast array of vehicles.
“I want to pay tribute to the workers here at Varley and to the management who combined, produce things that help Australia, they’re creating jobs, but they’re creating activity here as well,” he said.
“We know from the pandemic that we were left vulnerable, and we know that there could be other pandemics, there could be other international shocks, there’s a range of reasons why national economies have to be more resilient.
“One of the fantastic things that we saw here as well this morning is the craft that are being exported to Indonesia to help with their police operations, they’re being exported to the Philippines.
“It shows we can make things here, not just make things here for the domestic market but globally,” Albanese said.
The Prime Minister explained that Australia has a fantastic opportunity to seize on the growth of renewables.
“If you look at areas like hydrogen and green hydrogen, no country is better positioned than Australia to benefit from that,” he said.
“We have the best solar resources in the world, we have a great opportunity to take advantage as well of the mineral resources that we have.
Albanese mentioned that the of students enrolled in Fee-Free TAFE courses has increased.
“We promised 180,000 Fee-Free TAFE places this year. We not only have met that target, we’ve exceeded it,” he said
“There’s now above 220,000 people, including people here being trained as fitter and turners, there’s people being trained in the care sector, there’s people being trained in construction, and making sure that they can have great futures.”
Member for Newcastle, Sharon Claydon, said that renewable energy and skills centre developments are government focuses.
“The $100 million into the renewable energy precinct at the Port of Newcastle, $16 million into the new skills centre for the University of Newcastle, getting hydrogen ready over at Orica and Origin,”
“These are the focus of Government looking forward.”