The Emerald Ag College
The Emerald Ag College Simon Green EME040912agcollege02

AgForce furious it was not consulted on closures

BROADACRE agriculture's peak body, AgForce Queensland Farmers, is furious it has been ignored by the State Government around the closure of two agricultural colleges.

General president Georgie Somerset said she was staggered the broadacre sector was not asked for input into the termination of the colleges.

"Minister Furner claims to have consulted more than 70 organisations, so it is perplexing that AgForce was not one of them, especially given our memorandum of understanding with Queensland Agricultural Training Colleges," Ms Somerset said.

"Broadacre agriculture in Queensland is worth $7.25billion at the farm gate, plus $2.5billion in first-stage processing. More than 330,000 Queenslanders are employed across the whole food supply chain, including critically important jobs in our regional and rural communities.

"Ensuring access to quality education and skills development provides important career paths for young people in the bush at a time we are trying to encourage them to stay on the land."

CQUniversity vice-chancellor, Scott Bowman said over the coming months the university would work with QATC staff and stakeholders to understand what role it had in future delivery of agriculture training and education.

The university's bachelor of agriculture offers students the option to exit after the first year with a diploma qualification.

CQUniversity has had a strong and successful partnership with Queensland Agricultural Training Colleges in Emerald and Longreach, which ultimately led to the development of the university's Bachelor of Agriculture degree, launched in 2015.

Mr Bowman said the course was an innovative approach to learning, combining practical and theoretical training and industry experience.