College business plan underway

RAPAD says latest pastoral college consultation won't duplicate 2019 work

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While coronavirus pandemic restrictions have caused some delay, the business plan for the future of the Longreach Pastoral College campus is understood to be progressing as planned.

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While coronavirus pandemic restrictions have caused some delay, the business plan for the future of the Longreach Pastoral College campus is understood to be progressing as planned.

There is no news of progress at the Emerald Agricultural College campus however, except a statement from the state government that negotiations continue with interested parties for potential occupancy.

Remote Area Planning and Development Board CEO David Arnold said PricewaterhouseCoopers had been engaged to undertake the LPC campus business plan and had been consulting with targeted groups for the last month or so.

The state government last December tasked the economic development body that represents the seven local government areas of central western Queensland with the responsibility to develop a longer-term business plan with community input.

That followed the announcement a year earlier, in December 2018, that the Queensland Agricultural Training Colleges would be scrapped on the recommendation of an independent review by Professor Peter Coaldrake.

Agriculture Minister Mark Furner said last December the initial agreement with RAPAD was to be in place until November this year.

Mr Arnold said he would like to think the completed business plan would be ready for delivery to the state government well before the October 31 state poll, naming early September as a likely timeframe.

"The report will be the property of the government - our responsibility is to deliver it to government," he said.

He described the current process as a "hold nothing back" consultation that would not duplicate the "broad brush" Project Management Office consultation process undertaken for the government last year.

"What we're doing is nitty gritty, very detailed," he said. "We're saying, tell us your budget, what training you're already using, what you think you'll use."

Related reading: QATC transition plans still unknown

Mr Arnold said all of last year's consultation material was available as far as he knew.

"We participated in the consultation process with the PMO and I understood from that they had 30 submissions.

"I understand some groups never put anything in to that but we are targeting groups such as AgForce, the big pastoral companies, and all our councils as current users of training groups."

Mr Furner said last week that negotiations around the future of the Emerald campus continue to use the key guiding principles for occupancy that were developed during the 2019 community consultation phase.

"The Department of Agriculture and Fisheries has taken over the management and maintenance at EAC until the full extent of the transitional arrangements are known and in place," he said.

Opposition agriculture spokesman Tony Perrett said the fact that the Emerald campus continues to sit dormant and unused was a testament to Labor's botched handling of agricultural education in Queensland and proof they have no vision for agriculture in the state.

"Labor is too caught up in its own internal in-fighting and integrity scandals when it should be focused on backing regional jobs and providing an economic future for regional kids.

"This is typical of an anti-regions anti-farmer Palaszczuk government that continues to hamper and cost jobs in rural and regional Queensland."

Read more: Ag training resources locked up

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