Prime Minister Kevin Rudd.
Prime Minister Kevin Rudd. Inga Williams

Labor committed to more funding pledges

LABOR marked day 10 of the election campaign with two major funding announcements worth almost $270 million.

The biggest of those was a $209 million pledge to build 137 new trade training centres around the country - with the key states of New South Wales and Queensland the biggest beneficiaries.

Labor also committed $58.5 million to improving the Bureau of Meteorology's capacity to respond to extreme weather and natural disasters, including the establishment of a National Centre for Extreme Weather.

Prime Minister Kevin Rudd told reporters in Cairns that 225 schools - including 122 in regional areas - would benefit from the trade training centre funding.

New South Wales is set to get 58 new trade training centres and Queensland 26, at a cost of $65 million and $43 million respectively.

The trade training centres are designed to address skill shortages in traditional trades and emerging industries by equipping schools with industry-standard facilities.

Labor's 10-year, $2.5 billion plan to build trade training centres for Australia's more than 2500 high schools was made during the 2007 election campaign.

As part of the BoM package, the new National Centre for Extreme Weather would bring together the specialist skills and expertise required to respond to extreme weather events.

The centre would implement a next-generation flood forecasting system similar to that used in the United Kingdom and United States, and develop and build an advanced storm tide prediction system.

This technology would provide better warnings for people in low lying areas, particularly along the Queensland coast.

The funding for both commitments have already been included in the budget.



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