Abbott announces $14 million Advanced Manufacturing Growth Centre HQ

Prime minister Tony Abbott has visited Geelong and announced the base for the new Advanced Manufacturing Growth Centre, $500,000 for the trial of a “P-TECH” college, and programmes to boost local employment.

Following a Wednesday night party fundraiser, Abbott yesterday announced the centrepiece of his visit the city. He noted the recent difficulties suffered by traditional manufacturers in Geelong, and the potential that lay with a higher-skilled workforce.

“Rather than wallow in bad news the people of Geelong have been adapting and innovating,” The Geelong Advertiser reports him as saying.

“Yes, this is region in transition, from a smoke stack economy to a high tech economy; an economy based on higher education, advanced manufacturing and tourism … but interestingly throughout this transition the economy has continued to create jobs.

The AMGC, announced as one of five growth centres in the government’s competitiveness agenda last October, will be based at Deakin University’s Waurn Ponds campus. The campus is recognised for its capability in advanced materials, such as at the Carbon Nexus facility for composites research, and for being co-located with high-tech manufacturers such as Carbon Revolution and – in 2017 – Quickstep’s automotive division.

Andrew Stevens, chair of the AMGC, said leading advanced manufacturers were heading to Geelong.

"Then we will see innovation in this living laboratory environment that you've already created and we will help to nurture and expand," he told the ABC.

The announcements also announced $500,000 for a trial of the first P-TECH (pathways in technology) centre at Newcomb Secondary College, and the establishment of a Geelong Region Future Jobs Taskforce, to be housed in the AMGC.

For a May interview in Manufacturers' Monthly with Andrew Stevens about the AMGC initiative, click here.

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