Calls for as­sis­tance to keep pro­gram in school

Gatton Star - - LIFE INTO RURAL -

QUEENS­LAN­DERS are be­ing urged to help save a long-run­ning chil­dren’s agri­cul­tural ed­u­ca­tion pro­gram fac­ing the axe as a re­sult of State Gov­ern­ment fund­ing cuts.

Ag­force chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer Michael Guerin said the School to In­dus­try Part­ner­ship Pro­gram (SIPP) had been op­er­at­ing since 2004 and en­gaged with more than 10,000 Queens­land school stu­dents and teach­ers ev­ery year to show­case where food comes from and to high­light job op­por­tu­ni­ties in agri­cul­ture.

“This is a unique pro­gram that works across Queens­land to con­nect school stu­dents of all ages with agri­cul­ture and show them the im­por­tant role it plays in their lives,” he said.

“This pro­gram has pro­vided the first op­por­tu­nity for many chil­dren to touch sheep, cat­tle and chick­ens, to learn that cot­ton is from a plant, to pull veg­eta­bles from a gar­den and to climb over trac­tors.

“Ag­force was dis­mayed to re­ceive a let­ter from the Queens­land De­part­ment of Agri­cul­ture and Fish­eries stat­ing ‘DAF is un­able to con­trib­ute any fund­ing to SIPP be­yond 2018’ al­though we note the Min­is­ter is now say­ing ‘the pro­gram is cur­rently un­der re­view and no de­ci­sion has been made on its fu­ture’ ”.

“With the pro­gram re­ceiv­ing just $181,000 a year in gov­ern­ment fund­ing to en­gage with 10,000 stu­dents and teach­ers, we be­lieve the pro­gram is de­liv­er­ing ex­cel­lent bang for buck and should con­tinue.”

An on­line pe­ti­tion had been set up by a North Queens­land vet stu­dent call­ing on the Palaszczuk Gov­ern­ment to re­verse its

This is a unique pro­gram that works across Queens­land to con­nect school stu­dents of all ages with agri­cul­ture...

— Michael Guerin

de­ci­sion.

“We urge Queens­lan­ders to keep voic­ing their sup­port for the School to In­dus­try Part­ner­ship Pro­gram, to sign the pe­ti­tion, to share their thoughts on so­cial me­dia us­ing the hash­tag #SAVESIPP, to talk to their lo­cal MPS and to con­tact the Agri­cul­ture Min­is­ter Mark Furner di­rectly,” Mr Guerin said.

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