Ag college process 'transformation' not 'liquidation'

QATC transition team seeks to transform Longreach and Emerald assets


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The state government is building a plan for the future of Longreach and Emerald pastoral colleges.

The state government is building a plan for the future of Longreach and Emerald pastoral colleges.

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The transition team says the pressure is on to forge a plan.

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The transition team responsible for the future of pastoral colleges in Longreach and Emerald says the plan is to transform facilities not liquidate assets.

Speaking at the Western Queensland Local Government Association's annual conference, transition team leader Charles Burke said he hoped to transform the colleges so they had a financially sustainable future.

Longreach and Emerald pastoral colleges were part of the Queensland Agricultural Training Colleges organisation, which will be wound down at the end of the year following a review by Professor Peter Coaldrake.

Mr Burke, a former chief executive of peak industry body AgForce, said he wasn't a liquidator or a receiver, but rather someone looking to re-purpose the college facilities for the long-term.

"We are going to create a process to transform the existing assets of the colleges, transforming them into something that is relevant and financially sustainable in the future," he told the conference.

With a need to deliver this plan by the end of the year, Mr Burke said the pressure was on.

"We are going to be as broad as possible, but realistic.

"We don't have a report to deliver, we have to develop a plan. That has really put a lot of pressure on."

Mr Burke is leading the Project Management Office tasked with delivering the state government's response to the Coaldrake review.

It was going to be a tight turnaround, he said.

"The PMO should have been in place late last year, but it was the end of February before we got up and running. We already lost two months of the year."

Rural business leader Alison Mobbs is working alongside Mr Burke as the director of the Project Management Office.

Longreach Mayor Ed Warren told the local government conference that it was important to give rural students opportunities to train and up-skill in the region, rather than losing them to the city.

Transition plans needed to have momentum before the QATC organisation was officially wound down at the end of the year, Cr Warren said.

"I wouldn't like to see the college finish at the end of the year. I'd like to see some activity starting to build up from the beginning of next year."

Longreach Councillor and Qantas Founders Museum chief executive Tony Martin said plans could also come from outside of the box thinking, such as spruiking the Longreach college as a training base for the Australian Defence Force.

"Think about the knock-on effects of attracting other users and groups and what they might do," he said.

"We need to be open to those discussions.

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