A DECISION on whether a $10 million regional TAFE Trades Training Centre will be built in the region won’t be made until next year.
If the application by the New England Institute of TAFE is successful, a decision will then be made on whether the trades centre, designed to service the rapidly expanding mining industry, will be located in Gunnedah or Narrabri.
New England Institute of TAFE director Paul Callaghan said it would be early February before they knew if they had the funds.
In August, the institute announced an application for state government funding for a trades training centre in Gunnedah had been lodged.
However, Narrabri Shire Council argued the centre should be located in its town, prompting Mr Callaghan to initiate a value management study to determine the most appropriate location.
Namoi Councils chairman Cr Col Murray, who last month completed a questionnaire as part of the study process, said wherever it was located, it was “much needed” for the whole of the Gunnedah Basin coal industry.
Last week Cr Murray and member for Tamworth Kevin Anderson met with NSW
Education Minister Adrian Piccoli to press the case for the proposal.
The proposed training centre is a partnership between the New England TAFE Insitute; the Gunnedah Coal Producers Group representing all the mining companies in the Gunnedah Basin; Namoi Councils, a regional organisation of councils including
Tamworth, Uralla, Walcha, Gunnedah, Liverpool Plains and Narrabri; and the University of New England.
“Namoi Councils believes there is a very strong business case for the centre, which represents one of the best examples of regional strategic collaboration to achieve a mutual benefit for the community and the mining industry,” Cr Murray said.
He also believes a locally-based training centre for local people would be a way of combating some of the problems associated with “fly-in, fly out” employees.
The training centre would deliver courses in engineering, heavy vehicle mechanical
electro-technology and resources and infrastructure training.