Deupty Premier John Barilaro announces millions to upskill and grow region

Careful: Adam Marshall and John Barilaro picked up a new skill of drone flying under a watchful eye while in Moree on Thursday.

Careful: Adam Marshall and John Barilaro picked up a new skill of drone flying under a watchful eye while in Moree on Thursday.

DEPUTY Premier John Barilaro spent the day in Moree on Thursday announcing millions of dollars worth of funding to grow business sectors and upskill cotton and grain industry workers.

Moree Plains Shire Council was the first to hear good news, as Mr Barilaro confirmed Energise Enterprise funding success of two grants worth $20,000 and $16,000.

He said the fund supported communities impacted by decisions of the Murray-Darling Basin Plan.

“It’s about stimulating the community and looking at opportunities for small businesses to carve out new ventures in the town and I look forward to seeing the results of this,” Mr Barilaro said.

The two-project funding will support business skills development workshops and a labour skills study.

In partnership with Moree Chamber of Commerce and RDA Northern Inland, the workshops will bridge certain skill level gaps around the shire.

“The good thing about this is not just someone from the city coming out and lecturing.

“We are going to identify local business leaders who are doing things well, bring them into the workshops add a local flavour to it,” he said.

Afterwards, he headed west to ‘Boonaldoon’ to fly a drone over some dryland cotton crops.

Together with representatives from Cotton Australia and Grains Research and Development Corporation, Mr Barilaro said the grain and cotton industry would benefit from a $14.7 million injection.

The three-year funding placement will support training packages to upskill the workforce.

“We’re reskilling, looking at new skill sets and we’re looking to upskill the existing workforce,” Mr Barilaro said.

“We know the industry is changing, we know the sector is changing and because of technology right across every sector in this industry, we have to make sure the workforce has the right skill sets.”

The flexible partnership will allow industry bodies to identify immediate and long-term training needs for their workers.

Cotton Australia’s chief executive Adam Kay said it was critical for communities such as Moree to attract more people to the area.

“We need to recognise the skills of our existing workforce, give them recognition and help them further develop because that will help to retain them to the area and commit them to the industry,” he said.

Moree Water Ski Club was last on the agenda for the Deputy Premier, as it received $30,000 to boost further development at the newly established water park. 

A solar-powered pumping and blending station will be purchased to water 700 trees planted at the site, using blended lake and town water. 

He predicted the park to be a nation-wide attraction.