Ag industry gives Queensland Government a ‘FAIL’ for college project

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Ag industry gives Queensland Government a ‘FAIL’ for college project
Tuesday, 11 Feb 2020

Last week’s abolition of the Queensland Agricultural Colleges Act without any vision or plan for replacing the institutions has led a frustrated ag industry to hand the State Government an ‘F’.

As well as eliminating the colleges, the Project Management Office (PMO) – established by the Government to deliver a sustainable, community-led solution – has been dissolved without a coherent plan for the future in place.

AgForce CEO Michael Guerin said the Longreach and Emerald communities, and in fact regional Queensland generally, had every right to feel let down by their elected Government.

“The dissolution of the PMO without having a plan for the future of the colleges is like failing a student before they’ve sat the test – or even finished the semester,” Mr Guerin said.

“We had hoped the establishment of a community consultation process to be led by the PMO was a win for regional Queenslanders, an opportunity for them to have a say in the future of their colleges and the educational, vocational and economic opportunities they once provided.

“However, it appears the whole process was simply to rubber stamp the Government’s process and decisions already made. It is all extremely disappointing.”

Mr Guerin said the “clumsy and cruel” ag college fiasco was a direct result of the Government’s off-handed approach to dealing with regional Queenslanders and their lack of a coherent vision for the future of agriculture in this State.

“If someone had set out to design a process that would disenfranchise, frustrate and offend stakeholders and leave chaos and uncertainty in its wake, they couldn’t have come up with a better blueprint than this,” he said.

“The painfully drawn-out process has been characterised by uncertainty, a dire lack of purpose and vision, and poor, bordering on irresponsible, stakeholder engagement.

“This tragic shambles has ended the way it began 15 months ago – with a sudden announcement by the government without any notice to, let alone engagement with, key stakeholders.

“For the sake of the Longreach and Emerald communities and the State’s agriculture industry, I sincerely hope whatever the Government comes up with to replace the colleges is more effective than their process.”

ends

Media contact: David Vogler 0418 733 102

Ag industry gives Queensland Government a ‘FAIL’ for college project

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