The announcement today by the Queensland Minister for Agricultural Industry Development Mark Furner that the Labor Government will close down both the Emerald and Longreach Agricultural College Campuses has devastated current and former students, their families and their communities says local MP Lachlan Millar.
“Be in no doubt, Minister Furner could have made this important training program work, but he didn’t even try, “ said Mr Millar.
“He is being disingenuous about the whole issue, as shown in his media statement that local MPs were consulted. I am the only Queensland MP for both of these campuses and I told the Coaldrake Review that the government must keep these campuses open. Clearly the Government brief did not allow for that outcome.”
Mr Millar said the campuses were a valuable resource in both Emerald and Longreach and he had no doubt the Labor Government had already lined up mates to benefit from this decision.
“Meanwhile our agricultural students will join the Palaszczuk Government’s failing Vocational Education Training (VET) system where we have seen a 42 per cent drop in completion rates since 2014 at both TAFE and other government training providers,” he said.
“My biggest fear is that we will absolutely lose trade-level, skilled workers in the agricultural sector. Yes, our universities offer Bachelor degrees in Agriculture and Agricultural Science, but agriculture is a price-taker, not a price-maker and it cannot survive if its workforce only has university-level training rather than a trades- skill base.
“I believe this decision will drain students away from agriculture and over time the industry and the communities it supports will suffer.
“For Labor to call Mr Furner their Minister for Agricultural Industry Development is a very bitter joke when the actions of the government is to grind agriculture down,” said Mr Millar.
“Agriculture is already suffering the negative impact of Labor laws on water pricing, electricity pricing, regional rail-freight services and vegetation management. This decision is just another attack on Queensland agriculture by the Palaszczuk government.”
- Qld Agricultural Industry Development Minister Announces Closure of QATC campuses in Emerald and Longreach
- Local MP blasts Government for “lack of effort” and honesty