A New Generation Rollingstock (NGR) train.
A New Generation Rollingstock (NGR) train.

JOBS EXCLUSIVE: Why Premier has good news for Maryborough

THE PREMIER and her Cabinet are headed to Maryborough for a historic meeting tipped to be the launchpad of a major jobs boom.

The Chronicle can exclusively reveal Annastacia Palaszczuk and her team will hold a Cabinet meeting in Maryborough next month.

It comes as hundreds of jobs have been generated in Maryborough as rail maintenance and road upgrades get under way.

Ms Palaszczuk said jobs creation and growing the city's economy would be high on the agenda at the meeting.

"There is an unmistakable spring in Maryborough's step at the moment and I'm hoping this historic event will further add to that," she said.

The projects are part of the State Government's Queensland Transport and Roads Investment Program.

They include roadworks being carried out on the Bruce Highway and upgrades to the New Generation Rollingstock trains at the city's Downer factory.

Member for Maryborough Bruce Saunders said the community would benefit from the recruitment of almost 300 road construction jobs for Bruce Highway upgrades.

"In addition, the Saltwater Creek upgrade is a jointly-funded $103 million project to make the Bruce more flood resilient between Maryborough and Torbanlea," he said.

"Importantly, many of those jobs are giving apprentices experience to build skills and set their career paths.

"Twelve new apprentices will be recruited by Downer to support work on the NGR trains that will soon be heading to Maryborough for accessibility upgrades.

"Today, 53 applicants are being interviewed for these roles.

"This is the largest intake of apprentices Downer has taken on in Maryborough.

"Bringing younger workers into these highly-skilled areas is critical for our future workforce."

Minister for Transport and Main Roads Mark Bailey criticised the Opposition, saying it had sent the original NGR train contract overseas

"The only reason trains are heading to Maryborough is because of the Palaszczuk Government's commitment to keeping jobs in Queensland," Mr Bailey said.

"The LNP signed contracts to make sure NGR trains were built overseas, instead of here in Queensland.

"Under the LNP's watch, a design was approved that was not disability compliant - an arrogant oversight that will cost $335 million to fix.

"The only silver lining is that fixing the NGR trains will create up to 100 jobs in Maryborough.

"That's important for a proud rail town with a 150-year manufacturing history like Maryborough."

But LNP Deputy Leader and Shadow Treasurer Tim Mander said the statistics "prove Labor was lying when it says it is delivering jobs for Wide Bay".

"Thanks to Labor, Queensland has the highest unemployment rate in the nation and few regions are suffering more than Wide Bay," he said.

"Almost 9000 people in Wide Bay are out of work.

"Spending on roads in Wide Bay has been cut from $172m a year under the LNP to just $130m this year."

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