Prison muster: New jail proposed for pastoral college site

Longreach Pastoral College could become a low-security prison


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Longreach Pastoral College seeks enrollments for its last ever class in 2019.

Longreach Pastoral College seeks enrollments for its last ever class in 2019.

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The idea was canvassed during the Coaldrake Review.

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Longreach Pastoral College could become a low-security prison once it is closed at the end of 2019, a state government review has been told. 

On Wednesday Agriculture Minister Mark Furner announced that QATC and flagship training colleges in Longreach and Emerald would be closed following a review by Professor Peter Coaldrake. 

Questions linger over the fates of the campuses, with the Coaldrake review outlining some unconventional options. 

"The consultations which occured as part of this review also canvassed the possible repurposing of the respective college facilities," Professor Coaldrake wrote.

"These included turning the [Longreach Pastoral College] into a low-security correctional facility, probably for youth offenders or adults nearing the completion of their sentences."

Another idea to plug the economic hole left in Longreach by the closure of the pastoral college was to turn the facilities into a refugee centre. 

"Other ideas included using the facilities to accommodate refugee populations or, looking at the matter more widely, for Longreach to promote itself as a centre attractive to certain refugee populations.

"There has been some success in attracting and integrating  refugee populations into Australian rural towns, preconditions for which tend to be based on employment opportunities being available and the local community's preparedness to welcome such communities on a permanent basis."

LNP leader Deb Frecklington dismissed the proposals as a "crackpot idea".

"Communities like Longreach are crying out for jobs and training," she said.

"The proposal to send refugees to outback communities with a youth unemployment rate over 33 per cent is a crackpot idea.

"Queensland is a welcoming, multicultural society, but Longreach ag college is not the right place to resettle large numbers of refugees.

"Longreach’s college was built to give Outback kids a future and that’s what it should be used for."

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