“Brutal” is the word member for Gregory Lachlan Millar is using to describe the way the State Government has handled the release of the Coaldrake Review into the Longreach and Emerald Agricultural Colleges.
“Minister Furner has slammed the doors shut with no thought for affected employees or students. That was his choice. It did not have to happen that way. It has created great concern for those families who have been affected.”
Mr Millar says the Government must commit to retaining an agricultural education component in any re-development of the Queensland Agricultural Training College campuses in Emerald and Longreach.
“We must not lose the educational commitment represented by these campuses.”
“People need to come together and speak with one voice to force the Palaszczuk Government to ensure both campuses continue to make a contribution to both education and agriculture into the future.”
Mr Millar says the two campuses fulfilled different roles and this needs to be respected in any re-development or re-configuration.
“The drought will eventually break and with our wild-dog fencing in place we will see a recovery in our western sheep flocks. We need to ensure we have qualified wool handlers, shearers and pastoral workers to enable that to happen or all the wild-dog fencing will have been a waste.”
“I support RAPAD’s suggestion that RAPAD Skilling could offer a wider menu of vocational courses utilising the Longreach campus facilities, but pastoral courses need to be retained as well.”
Mr Millar says that the opportunities in Emerald in partnering with CQU-CQIT and Agforce were exciting, but he believed the QATC farming operations should be retained as part of a new educational model.
Mr Millar says the future use of the residential facilities was of great concern to both the Longreach and Emerald communities.
“There is great concern in Longreach that the residence is already closed – as of now. The Longreach State High School had 11 prospective boarders for the 2019 school year and they have been left in limbo.”
The employees are devastated, too. It would appear their jobs are finished, just in time for a very sad Christmas.”
“There needs to be a separate community consultation about how these residential facilities are to be used and brought up to standard for that purpose. The Coaldrake Review does not represent proper consultation.”