Update: Queensland Agricultural Training Colleges will be scrapped at the end of 2019. Read the latest on the announcement here.
Earlier: Agriculture Minister Mark Furner is expected to announce the results of the Coaldrake review into Queensland Agricultural Training Colleges at lunchtime on Wednesday.
QATC staff at Longreach were called into a meeting on Wednesday morning to be briefed on the decision, ending months of speculation about the fate of the pastoral colleges.
Earlier this year Professor Peter Coaldrake was tasked with reviewing Queensland Agricultural Training Colleges, a rural education provider with main campuses in Longreach and Emerald.
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.
Before announcing the review’s findings, Mr Furner had repeatedly refused to rule out shutting down either Emerald or Longreach colleges.
LNP member for Gregory Lachlan Millar has been campaigning to save the colleges in the lead-up to the announcement.
“It’s hard to articulate just how important these agricultural colleges are to the sector as well as to the identity and economy of both Emerald and Longreach,” he said.
AgForce chief executive Michael Guerin has previously 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.”
Former QATC chief executive Mark Tobin has described the agricultural training colleges at Longreach and Emerald as an "incredible resource" for Queensland.
"It's unique in Australia. I think it would be a shame to see that sold off," he said.
- More to come