The federal Coalition is hoping to supercharge Tasmania's Battery of the Nation vision by investing $17 million into skills and training in Tasmania.
It comes two years after Prime Minister Scott Morrison's predecessor in the Lodge, Malcolm Turnbull, first raised the idea alongside Premier Will Hodgman, spruiking the benefits of a greater role for Tasmania in the National Electricity Market.
Mr Morrison said that building the infrastructure needed to transform the state into the Battery of the Nation required the training of skilled workers. Over the next four years, the federal government will contribute a total of $17 million to make certain vocational education and training courses in Tasmania fee-free.
"We're scrapping the upfront costs for priority training courses to ensure Tasmanians have the right mix of skills for the future," Mr Morrison exclusively told The Examiner in a statement.
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"Our $17 million training boost is ultimately about delivering the skills ... [the Battery of the Nation] project needs, the skills the local economy needs, and most importantly the skills young Tasmanians need."
As it currently stands, state and territory governments subsidise eligible vocational education and training courses. But training providers can charge more than this subsidy is worth, meaning students can sometimes be required to pay an approximate fee of $4500. The Coalition will be "covering the course cost gap", according to Mr Morrison.
It's believed the initiative, dubbed Energising Tasmania, could benefit up to 2800 students.
It did not appear as a line item in the 2019-20 federal budget last Tuesday but Tasmania will still see the money, however dire the Coalition's electoral fortunes might be come May.
The policy will home in on priority skills needs - such as civil construction, electro-technology and resource management - as a way of incentivising people to develop the skills required to build and maintain interconnection and pumped hydroelectricity infrastructure.
Additionally, students will be eligible to receive up to $1000 per person to cover a range of training costs - including books, materials and student amenity fees.
The initiative will commence on January 1, 2020, once an agreement is signed with the state government.
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