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Putting wind in the sails of Australia’s mining workforce is in Scott Morrison’s sights, with the leader pledging $30 million for a new school for miners in central Queensland.

The prime minister hopes the show of support for the industry will help distinguish the coalition from Labor and the Greens, as he tries to shore up two marginal seats in the region.

“We want to be a country that manufactures things like aluminium and develop world class resources, so we need to invest in regional jobs and skills,” Mr Morrison says.

The new CQUniversity School of Mines and Manufacturing for Gladstone and Rockhampton will teach the skills in science, engineering and mathematics needed to succeed in the mining, resources and manufacturing industries.

The school will particularly help people in the seat of Capricornia, which LNP MP Michelle Landry holds on a very narrow margin of 0.63 per cent.

Labor’s Russell Roberston is seeking to win the electorate back, after Labor lost it in 2013.

The seat of Flynn held by the LNP’s Ken O’Dowd by 1.04 per cent will also benefit from the investment.

There are about 40,000 full-time jobs in the resources sector in Central Queensland, with the industry contributing 37 per cent to Gross Regional Product.

Mr Morrison arrived in Rockhampton on Thursday evening, going to a local pub to watch the Cronulla Sharks – his rugby league team of choice – beat the Gold Coast Titans.

The PM on Friday is also expected to try and undermine Labor’s policy costings with his attack line that the party can’t be trusted with money.

That comes after he spent Thursday on the NSW mid-north coast, speaking with locals about the dangers he believes are posed by Labor’s tax reforms.