Queensland on course for maritime jobs and skills boost

Published: 9 May 2023







9 MAY 2023




The Maritime Union of Australia welcomes Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk’s commitment to invest $16 million in the TAFE Queensland Cairns Great Barrier Reef International Marine College, and in doing bring essential skills training to the northern region of Australia’s east coast where the industry is seeing significant growth.


The Cairns Great Barrier Reef International Marine College will partner with Maritime Safety Queensland (MSQ) and TAFE Queensland to make Certificate III in Maritime Operations (Integrated Rating) available in Queensland for the first time ever, which has until now only been available in Tasmania and Perth. An Integrated Rating ticket is an entry level certificate enabling people to work in the industry and one that needs to be revalidated every five years, which comes at a big cost for any employer or employee who is wanting to enter the industry.


The training program is made possible by the $21 million Backing Queensland Maritime Jobs – a key election commitment from the Palaszczuk Government to build the maritime industry through more training, jobs and shipping routes. It comes on the back of a commitment last year by the Palaszczuk Government to spend $150 million expanding the Cairns Marine Precinct – enabling the maintenance, repair, and overhaul of more and larger vessels.


“We are experiencing a significant period of growth and reenergisation of the maritime industry throughout Australia, and the combined efforts of state and federal governments making good on their promises to our industry will deliver the infrastructure and skills training our workforce needs to thrive in the long term,” said the Union’s National Secretary, Paddy Crumlin.


“We have new ships entering the coastal trade as we speak, so the need is a pressing one, with the potential additional growth in the Australian merchant fleet that will come from the Albanese Federal Government’s Strategic Fleet policy, which will further boost the demand for skilled and experienced Australian seafarers as we work to secure our national supply chains” Mr Crumlin explained.


“The new training and jobs opportunities we are seeing in Queensland are a tremendous vote of confidence in the long term strategic and economic importance of our members’ jobs by the Palaszczuk Government, and we commend them for sharing in our vision for a growing industry,” he added.


Strategically located in Portsmith – a short distance from the Port of Cairns – GBRIMC currently offers a range of industry-recognised maritime courses, including Certificates I to IV in Maritime Operations, and skill sets in safety, marine radio and firefighting.


Students at GBRIMC have access to specialised training facilities including a Class A Full Mission Bridge simulator, tug-optimised bridge and desktop simulators, a sea survival training immersion pool and engineering workshops.


“This investment by the Palaszczuk Government will strengthen and grow the domestic maritime industry, creating good secure jobs for Queenslanders,” said the MUA’s Queensland Branch Secretary, Jason Miners.


“As we have seen with spiralling cost-of-living pressures and rolling natural disasters in recent years, it’s critical to secure our state’s supply chains with a resilient maritime industry. The Queensland Government’s announcement is not just a great boost for local jobs here in Cairns but it’s an investment in the critical skills shortages state-wide that the MUA has identified, and we thank the Palaszczuk Government for their commitment to addressing this,” Mr Miners said.


Mr Miners outlined how the MUA’s Queensland Branch is currently in the process of securing a crew of 8 new Integrated Ratings to join a container ship, the Newcastle Bay II, that is currently in dry dock in Batam, Indonesia, further highlighting the timeliness and significance of the Queensland Government’s investment in the future skills training needs of the maritime industry.






Authorised by P Crumlin, Maritime Union of Australia, Sydney