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Community & Business

16 November, 2022

TSBE proposal impresses Minister

A regional manufacturing hub has edged one step closer to reality.

From left: Stephen Lucht of Obadare, Anton Griffiths of TUFF Group, Minister Glenn Butcher, Ali Davenport, Elisa Ginardi and Jason Riddle of JRS Manufacturing, Mandy Turner of TSBE and Daniel Fletcher of Western Downs Regional Council

The case to establish a manufacturing hub in Toowoomba took a big step forward last week with a proposal from the Toowoomba and Surat Basin Enterprise, endorsed in principle by the State Government Minister for Regional Development and Manufacturing and Minister for Water Glenn Butcher.

Mr Butcher met with the TSBE CEO Ali Davenport when he visited Toowoomba to speak at the Regions Rising event, and encouraged those efforts being made for the hub. 

"It was a pretty positive response from the Minister and like all proposals, will ultimately come down to funding," Ms Davenport said.

"The state government has always recognised our manufacturing credentials, and supported individual businesses, but a manufacturing hub would take things to the next level."

There are around 600 businesses in this region which identify as manufacturing and they employ a total of nearly 7000 people, and contribute $1.35 billion to the economy each year. 

A formal manufacturing hub - such as those in centres including Mackay, Townsville and Gladstone would provide a resource for those businesses to access funding, mentoring, innovation and collaboration.

"A manufacturing hub is not a physical 'space' as such, but a support network for businesses to collaborate where necessary," Ms Davenport said.

"The very first manufacturing hubs were established by the government in areas where they wanted to see growth and now it's time for us. 

'We have seen incredible success stories come out of those other regions and we know those stories can also come from businesses right across our region. 

"Equally importantly, a manufacturing hub will encourage other businesses to set up here, and develop entrepreneurship through inspiration and support."

Ms Davenport said she felt very encouraged following the meetings with Mr Butcher. 

"We realise that ultimately this decision will come down to budgets, but we will push for it in every way we can," Ms Davenport said.

"We will focus on highlighting the opportunities and challenges currently experienced by local manufacturing businesses, and work together for a result that benefits the whole region."

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