Monthly Market Review May 2024

Posted on Thursday, June 13, 2024 by Tim O'BrienNo comments

Alpha HPA project to boost advanced manufacturing and create jobs

Alpha HPA, a developer of high-purity alumina (HPA) products, has decided to proceed with Stage Two of its HPA First Project in Gladstone, Queensland. This step positions the company to establish the world's largest single-site HPA refinery. The project will see the construction of a ten-hectare, state-of-the-art facility starting mid-2024 at Yarwun, near Gladstone. This expansion follows a successful three-year marketing campaign, the operation of Stage One, and a re-engineered design for Stage Two, allowing the company to meet customer needs and expand its product range. With the completion of Stage Two, Alpha HPA expects to produce up to 10,000 tonnes of high-purity aluminium materials annually, creating 120 permanent local jobs and 300 jobs during construction.

For the Gladstone community, the benefits of this project are substantial. The development will significantly boost local employment, both in the construction phase and through permanent positions, enhancing economic stability and growth. Alpha HPA's innovative, low-carbon production technology will leverage Gladstone's existing industrial infrastructure, supporting the global energy transition and high-tech sectors. Additionally, the project will attract further investment and development to the region, solidifying Gladstone's role as a key player in advanced manufacturing and sustainable industrial practices.

Major Skills and Training Reforms

The Queensland Government has announced the biggest skills and training reform in almost a decade, set to benefit Central Queensland significantly. The Good Jobs, Great Training: Queensland Skills Strategy 2024–2028 will provide one million funded training places in priority skill areas, including early childhood education and care (ECEC), nursing, retail, mining, and construction sectors. This initiative includes extending the Free TAFE program, funding up to 70,000 Free TAFE places, which aims to reduce costs for Queenslanders entering high-demand sectors.

Central Queensland is predicted to employ almost 139,000 workers by 2025-26, an 11.5 percent rise from 2021-22. Local MPs have welcomed these announcements, seeing them as significant boosts for the local economy and job market.

Schools and Industry Partnerships

New partnerships and improved employment pathways are key goals for a new schools and industry forum delivered in Rockhampton. The Capricornia Secondary Schools Industry Breakfast (CSSIB) saw over 200 education, industry, and training representatives discuss opportunities to collaborate and improve employment pathways for local students across Central Queensland. This initiative aims to foster greater dialogue between educators and industry to address labor constraints in the region and improve workforce capability.

Expanded Medical Training in Rockhampton

More medical students will be trained and encouraged to work in Central Queensland with the Albanese Government investing $8.8 million to fund an expanded University of Queensland (UQ) medical school program in Rockhampton, in partnership with Central Queensland University. The funding will help build and set up new medical training in Rockhampton, with the first students expected to begin study next year. This initiative aims to address healthcare workforce shortages in regional, rural, and remote areas, supporting the future health workforce in Central Queensland.

Federal Budget Impact

The federal budget was delivered on 14th May and the government reiterated that Stage 3 Tax Cuts will proceed as expected from 1 July 2024. These tax cuts will significantly impact both employers and employees. They will decrease employee income tax, potentially leading to higher take-home pay. Employers may need to reassess their payroll tax rates and make necessary adjustments to ensure compliance with the revised tax rates.

Government-funded Paid Parental Leave will begin paying superannuation on 1 July 2025. This will be administered by the ATO, which means that the ATO will pay the superannuation contribution directly to the employees' funds. As a result, this will not affect employer obligations regarding government-paid parental leave. Employers will still be required to pay superannuation contributions abiding by the Superannuation Guarantee Charge. 

For small businesses the $20,000 instant asset write-off was extended by $290 million, which was welcome news. A further $10.8 million was allocated to provide small-business owners with tailored, free, and confidential financial and mental well-being support.

Around a million small businesses will receive rebates of $325, while remote areas will receive $777.4 million to develop jobs, services, and economic opportunities.

Conclusion

Through strategic investments in infrastructure, clean energy, skills development, and partnerships between schools and industry, the region is poised to see a diverse array of job opportunities, fostering economic growth and enhancing resilience. As these initiatives roll out, the plan is that Central Queensland will benefit from improved employment prospects and a stronger, more sustainable economy.

Jobs In Central Queensland offer a holistic approach to your recruitment and talent attraction requirements. 

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