Katter’s Australian Party MPs will consider drafting legislation to ensure formal agricultural training survives in Queensland.
KAP State Leader and Member for Traeger Robbie Katter said alongside saving the two current facilities at Longreach and Emerald, there was a good argument for opening up new ag education facilities in places like Hughenden, Julia Creek
Last week the Palaszczuk Government announced it would pull funding from and close the state’s last two ag colleges, after claiming they had lose their “relevance” and were no longer viable.
The Government cited falling enrolment numbers since 2012, however it is important to note that a large portion of Queensland has faced severe drought conditions since this time.
Earlier this week AgForce announced it was willing to lead an industry move to overhaul the colleges to prevent their closure.
Mr Katter commended AgForce’s move, and said he would also consider possible draft legislation to prevent the colleges closing and to provide alternate funding models.
“Many rural Queensland, and especially those who work in the agricultural industry, were extremely disappointed by the announcement of these closures but from the KAP’s perspective, the fight isn’t over yet,” Mr Katter said.
“I am very glad to see that AgForce has put some ideas on the table to prevent the closure of the colleges.
“If we can get some momentum going the KAP will in the New Year look at what options there are in the Parliament to prevent the closures.
“The Palaszczuk Government has demonstrated time and again that it has no respect for the bush and its values – now we need to turn any anger and disappointment felt into something productive.”
KAP Member for Hill Shane Knuth this week endorsed an online petition being run by Tablelands local, Paige Hooley, calling on the State Government to reverse its decision to close the ag colleges.
Mr Katter has urged anyone passionate about the issue to sign the petition.
“Hopefully this petition will garner a significant response and will cause the Government to reconsider its short-sighted move,” Mr Katter said.
“However failing this, the KAP will look at all options to keep these colleges open, and will help to drive and be involved in any discussions in this aim.”
The petition can be found online at: https://www.parliament.qld.gov.au/work-of-assembly/petitions/petition-details?id=3060&fbclid=IwAR3s60UTmjkQm-Lo8eim-3JuWf8l_0MeTqmwwH8rbxKM4Ag7PRrgMClbmNo