6 June 2023.

AgForce has accused the State Government of “turning its back on agriculture” over fears Longreach Pastoral College has been sold to three different companies - none of which has any intention of using the building as an education facility.

When tenders for the college were awarded in April, the organisation had remained hopeful that the new owners would work with industry to deliver the training so desperately needed.

But this no longer appears to be the case.

AgForce CEO Michael Guerin said he was disappointed in the State Government’s decision, particularly as a consortium of 10 large pastoral companies had put in a strong bid to restore the college to its former glory.

“We are bitterly disappointed to hear that the college will not be used as an education facility,” he said.

“We have an industry crying out for a skilled workforce and existing ag education programs that are not adequate.

“It beggars belief that the government would sell this facility to anyone other than someone who wants to use it for the purpose it was intended to be used.

“If this is indeed what has happened then such poor judgement is indicative of a government that cares little for the future of farming. It has quite simply turned its back on agriculture.”

Last month, the State Government also cut funding to AgForce’s School to Industry Partnership Program, which enabled thousands of children every year to learn about the farming industry in the classroom.

Mr Guerin said: “It’s time Australia’s politicians recognised the importance of sharing agriculture’s good news stories with young people, of encouraging children to take an interest in farming, and introducing students to the diversity of a career in agriculture - before it’s too late.”

The blow comes as AgForce launches its new joint training venture Agri Training - an enterprise that will look for partnerships, collaboration, and co-design opportunities.

“If the government is not going to invest in education for our farming industry then we will have to do all we can to fill the void,” said Mr Guerin.

“Agriculture is an essential industry and providing industry-relevant training is vital to ensuring the current and future workforce is ‘job ready’ with the skills needed.

“As technology and innovation continue to drive broader and different career pathways for young people into the industry, a contemporary training infrastructure sits central to delivering that opportunity and allowing those young people clear pathways and support.

“It is critical to underpinning the social, environmental, and economic benefits industry can and does bring to Australia.”


Media Contact: AgForce CEO Michael Guerin 0488 002 092