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Manufacturing in North Queensland

More than $6.74 billion worth of minerals and processed metal products are exported through the Townsville Port each year.

The Townsville North Queensland region is home to over 570 manufacturing businesses including SunMetals, the Copper Refinery and Wilmar Sugar. The region is a major hub for employment within mining camps between Townsville and Mt Isa, with more than 8,000 manufacturing jobs throughout the North and North West region.

Manufacturing in North Queensland

The Stats

5,924 Manufacturing Jobs across North Queensland
5.4% Share of Employment in North Queensland
$1.1Bn Value-add to the regional economy annually

Top Exports by Value

1. $3.7Bn Non-ferrous Metals
2. $2.2Bn Metalliferous ores and Metal scrap
3. $489M Fertilisers

Looking for a job in North Queensland?

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Learn About Manufacturing Careers

Video Stories

Boilermaker Careers Boilermaker Careers with John Barnes
Fabrication Careers Fabrication Careers with Jock Oates
Human Resources and Safety Careers Human Resources and Safety Careers with Rachel Nairn
Workshop Supervisor Workshop Supervisor with Kyle O'Keefe
Sales Estimation Careers Sales Estimation Careers with Caity Hardy
Manufacturing Careers Manufacturing Careers with Wade Clarke
Migrant Career Opportunities Migrant Career Opportunities with Jules & Lamberts Fresh Produce

Business Sectors

  • Chemical and chemical product manufacturing
  • Fabricated metal product manufacturing
  • Food product manufacturing
  • Furniture and other manufacturing
  • Machinery and equipment manufacturing
  • Non-metallic mineral product manufacturing
  • Petroleum and coal product manufacturing
  • Polymer product and rubber product manufacturing
  • Primary metal and metal product manufacturing
  • Textile, leather, clothing and footwear manufacturing

Industry Snapshot

Australia’s Manufacturing industry is a very diverse sector and covers the manufacture of food and beverages, petroleum and coal, polymer products, machinery, furniture and more. It involves transforming materials, substances and components into new products like:

  • Food & beverages
  • Textiles, clothing & footwear
  • Wood & paper products
  • Petroleum & coal products
  • Chemical, polymer & rubber products
  • Mineral & metal products
  • Machinery & equipment
  • Furniture & other products

While it is common for workers to hold a certificate III or higher VET qualification, employers in this industry also value trade experience and practical knowledge. This is shown by the sizeable proportion of workers who do not have post-school qualifications (more than a third of the workforce).

Most people with their main job in this industry work full-time. Average earnings are $1,262 per week, higher the all industries average of $1,200.

$1,262 Median Weekly Earnings
83.9% Employed Full-time (higher than average of 73%)
6.6% of the North Queensland Workforce
Share of employment by gender

Industry Outlook

There has been enormous growth in high-tech, high-skilled manufacturing, referred to as advanced manufacturing. Those involved create the leading-edge practices, technologies and organisational cultures that are needed to sustain global competitiveness in the wider manufacturing industry. Other growth areas in manufacturing include the gas-processing industry, niche and additive manufacturing. Manufacturing is moving to a future embedded in the digital and information technology world.

Employment in Manufacturing is projected to grow by 23,000 (2.6%) over the five years to 2026.

Manufacturing's diversity offers opportunities to work in production, design, planning, management, human resources, and in specialised processes working with the latest technologies and manufacturing techniques.
Modern manufacturing enterprises are clean, efficient and technology-driven, requiring workers with well-developed skills in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM), who are able to respond to changing times with innovative ideas and ways of working.

Top Employing Occupations

  • Structural Steel and Welding Trades
  • Production Managers
  • Packers
  • Metal Fitters and Machinists
  • Cabinetmakers
  • Product Assemblers
  • Sales Assistants
  • Storepersons
  • Supply Logistics
  • Forklift Drivers

Explore & Get Started is an extensive career exploration resource for students, teachers advisors and parents to explore personal and career profiles, industry information, occupations, courses, videos and more.

Find a Course or Traineeship

TAFE offers a range of licences and Certificates for the Mining and Manufacturing industry as well as support in sourcing apprenticeships and traineeships.

Visit TAFE Queensland

JCU offers a range of courses in Business, Environment, Engineering and manufacturing as well as specialist courses through the Agriculture, Technology and Adoption Centre (AgTAC). Visit the JCU site for pathway and course information as well as the JCU AgTAC site to see how JCU is partnering with industry to delivery technology-enabling capability for the agriculture industry.


CQU offers courses related to mining and manufacturing including engineering and Project Management. Visit the site for course and career pathway information.


MEGT is a great place to find currently advertised traineeships and apprenticeships in North Queensland.

Visit MEGT

Apprenticeships QLD is a website that directs trainees to field based apprenticeships in Queensland.

Visit Apprenticeships QLD

Queensland Government provides assist in finding apprenticeships and traineeships including those that are funded by the Queensland Government. Visit the Queensland Training Information Service (QTIS) or the DESBT website for information.

Visit QTIS

Industry Associations