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Powerlink is set to recruit Townsville-based apprentices to work on its CopperString project, Queensland Minister for Energy and Clean Economy Jobs, Mick de Brenni, has announced.

Mr de Brenni said the Queensland SuperGrid is rapidly powering ahead with the coming weeks to also see an additional 22-strong contingent in Townsville to support work on CopperString.

The group of Townsville-based workers will be located at the interim SuperGrid Training Centre and Transmission Hub at Bohle, with the site for the permanent 10ha hub to be based at Cleveland Bay Industrial Park.

The announcements for the region come as 35 new apprentices and graduates from across Queensland begin their careers with Powerlink.

The key infrastructure project connects the largest renewable energy zone (REZ) on the east coast of Australia, with half a billion dollars in critical minerals.

Over the coming days, Mr de Brenni will tour the proposed CopperString route to learn more about how the mammoth project will benefit the north and north-west regions, create new jobs and protect existing ones.

Dozens of local businesses are already benefiting from CopperString and a further 450 businesses – including 250 from regional Queensland – have registered their interest to work on the project.

A total of 50 works packages have been released for expressions of interest, covering a range of activities and services such as engineering, construction, environmental management, logistics, camp construction, haulage and communications.

Local suppliers who want to be part of this state-defining project have until January 31st to register their interest.

Mr de Brenni said, “We’re powering ahead to deliver clean economy jobs for Queenslanders, and by making progress on CopperString, it means we can create more skilled jobs for Queenslanders, while protecting and supporting existing jobs and industries.

“Not only does this project benefit workers in industries like engineering and construction, but it also means big benefits to small business.

“Powerlink has already injected more than $400,000 into the North Queensland economy, and from local cleaners to caterers, bakers to baristas, the economic benefit of CopperString and projects that deliver cleaner, cheaper and more secure energy will continue to be significant.

“This is a huge year for CopperString and Townsville and the North Queensland community, with the benefits of the Queensland SuperGrid already starting to show.”

Powerlink Chief Executive Officer, Paul Simshauser, said, “Growing our presence in North Queensland is a sign of our longer-term commitment to the region. 

“This year, we will also officially break ground on CopperString as part of a five-year journey to build the electrical superhighway of the north. 

“Powerlink has always been part of the North Queensland community, and now we are at the forefront of Queensland’s energy transformation. I would strongly encourage businesses and individuals alike to seize on the opportunities as they arise. 

“We have recently extended opportunities for businesses to register their interest in working on CopperString. I would encourage any businesses along the route who haven’t already registered to do so via our website by the end of January.” 

Queensland Minister for Resources and Critical Minerals, Scott Stewart, said, “It’s important Powerlink have a base of workers in Townsville to deliver this project, which will help unlock billions of dollars in critical mineral deposits.

“On my recent trade delegation to the United States, government and businesses were excited to hear how CopperString would unlock more opportunities for critical minerals.”

Queensland Member for Mundingburra, Les Walker, said, “This is a great opportunity for young people to get an apprenticeship on a nation building infrastructure project which will transform North Queensland.

“These apprentices will be the tradies of tomorrow and CopperString will continue to create good jobs and great opportunities for Townsville and the north.”

Queensland Member for Thuringowa, Aaron Harper, said, “Creating local jobs during construction as well as new opportunities for critical minerals projects is what CopperString is about.

“The Miles government is investing and building this project to benefit Townsville and North Queensland now and into the future.”

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