Deputy Premier leaves Perrett steamed on USC
GYMPIE MP Tony Perrett has claimed Deputy Premier Jackie Trad overstated the State Government’s level of support for USC to gain access to an empty and unused TAFE building.
Mr Perrett, said the Minister gave the false impression to the Gympie electorate that all the USC had to do was make an application.
USC is trying to secure a lease of an empty TAFE building which sits a few metres across the carpark from its Gympie campus so it can increase enrolments and offer more courses.
“The Minister said that the government was open to hearing from the university and that they should bring a proposal and an application (as) ‘we’d love to see it’. The USC has been submitting and resubmitting proposals and applications for the past three years.
“A proposal in 2014 was ready for signing before the change of government.
“More than two years ago the USC did everything that the Labor Government asked for and it was resubmitted again in 2015, 2016 and this year.
“Then the Minister said the government was ‘focused on ensuring public assets would be used for public benefit’ to be used for ‘continuing education purposes’.
“What could be a greater public benefit than giving people a chance to upskill to improve their chances of gaining long term employment?
“What could be a greater public benefit than the university increasing the number of courses it can offer, increase enrolments, and at the same time paying the Queensland taxpayers for a lease and upgrading the building?
“And under what definition could you argue that a university doesn’t already provide a ‘continuing education purpose’. Then the Deputy Premier said that she ‘knew’ the Minister for Training (Yvette D’Ath) ‘is very open to suggestions about using it for another education facility’.
“That answer is a whole pile of rot.
“The university is already another education facility and the Minister has continuously, deliberately and willfully refused to grant that lease.
“Two years ago TAFE said it doesn’t want the building and it closed down the Gympie nursing studies course with a week’s notice in 2015.
“The government has never been interested in helping USC secure that lease because if they did they would have done something about it more than 2 years ago.” Ms Trad’s office was reached for comment but had not replied by time of print.
SPINNING IN PLACE: Gympie MP Tony Perrett has questioned the Deputy Premier’s response over USC’s request to use an empty TAFE building.