Families frustrated by ag college closure

QATC closure hurts rural Queensland families


Clay Mitchell and mum Maree, just one of the families impacted by the state government's decision to close Emerald and Longreach pastoral colleges.

Clay Mitchell and mum Maree, just one of the families impacted by the state government's decision to close Emerald and Longreach pastoral colleges.

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Maree Mitchell was "gutted" to hear QATC was shutting down.

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Maree Mitchell was "gutted" to hear her son's hopes of going to the Emerald Agricultural College had been dashed in the fallout from the Coaldrake review

"We were completely gutted, followed by frustration," said Mrs Mitchell from Hodgson, outside Roma. 

"It was like somebody had ripped that option away from our son. Now we're thinking about the other options, but none of them are necessarily paths he wants to go down."

Mrs Mitchell said her 15-year-old son Clay had a huge passion for agriculture and had been eyeing up a spot at Queensland Agricultural Training Colleges in 2020. 

"School is not our son's favourite place to be. He's a hands-on learner that loves practical experience," she said. 

"We saw Emerald Ag College as a really good stepping stone for him."

Clay will be just one year too late to attend the college, which will be shut down alongside Longreach Pastoral College at the end of 2019. 

“We've tried to raise the topic of what else we could do,” Mrs Mitchell said.

“But now we’re struggling a little bit with the decision. It’s an adjustment, we’ve only known for a week or so.”

Kirstie Davison from Blackall said she had planned to have her son board at Longreach Pastoral College through the Rural Reach program while attending Longreach State High School. 

Although the program would go ahead in 2019, it faced an uncertain future after that.

"Our son is really dynamic and I think the potential he had to develop those hands-on skills at the college was amazing. 

"It is a bit sad as the program had only just started.”

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