QATC future plan remains stuck in limbo

Queensland Agricultural Training Colleges sweats on Coaldrake review

Agriculture Minister Mark Furner is keeping the Coaldrake review under his hat for now.

Agriculture Minister Mark Furner is keeping the Coaldrake review under his hat for now.


QATC is waiting for answers on its strategic plan.


Queensland Agricultural Training Colleges is stuck in limbo as it waits to see whether the state government will endorse its strategic plan for the next three years. 

Earlier this year QATC provided Agriculture Minister Mark Furner with its 2018-2022 strategic plan, which has since been overshadowed by the nervously anticipated Coaldrake review.

The future direction of QATC, and therefore the suitability of the strategic plan, hinges on the outcomes of the Coaldrake review. 

QATC developed the strategic plan to show how it would respond to challenges such as the declining number of students enrolling in rural education. 

"The plan’s vision sees QATC becoming a ‘world standard provider of applied and practical education and research services for students in agriculture and associated industries'," QATC wrote in its latest annual report. 

"QATC’s view is that the QATC 2018–22 Strategic Plan is the framework by which the organisation will assist in providing students with the premium agricultural education training and research experience."

The plan has been with Mr Furner since at least August with no indication of whether the state government would endorse it or not. 

Earlier this year Professor Peter Coaldrake was tasked with completing a separate review of QATC. 

Training colleges in Dalby and Burdekin have already been closed, and there are concerns about the long-term future of remaining colleges as the flow of students dries up.

QATC's latest annual report noted that the results of the Coaldrake review were expected to be known last month. 

Mr Furner has only given a vague indication of when a decision on the review will be made, saying he expected to act in late 2018 or early next year. 

“The government is actively considering the Coaldrake review and expects to announce the outcome in the near future,” he said. 

The only other public comment Mr Furner has made on the Coaldrake review is to note that "the number of students attending these colleges has diminished over a period of time".

AgForce chief executive Michael Guerin has said the Queensland government needed to end its silence and address concerns over QATC's future. 

"We know the state government has done a review on the agricultural colleges, but the industry has had no involvement and been kept in the dark throughout the entire process,” he said.

“These two colleges have operated for more than 50 years and helped thousands of graduates achieve rewarding careers throughout the agribusiness supply chain.”


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