State puts TAFE lease with USC

Draft lease pro­vided af­ter four years of build­ing be­ing empty

The Gympie Times - - FRONT PAGE - SCOTT KOVACEVIC scott.kovacevic@gympi­

THE push to let Gympie’s USC cam­pus use a long-empty TAFE build­ing has taken a ma­jor step for­ward, with a draft lease in the univer­sity’s hands.

Em­ploy­ment Min­is­ter Shan­non Fen­ti­man said what hap­pened next in the four-year cam­paign was at USC’s dis­cre­tion.

“Ne­go­ti­a­tions are in

their fi­nal stages and the draft lease is with the Univer­sity of the Sun­shine Coast for their fi­nal ap­proval,” Ms Fen­ti­man said.

Gympie MP Tony Perrett wel­comed the news, not­ing the tim­ing of the lease’s de­liv­ery to the univer­sity.

“I have been ad­vised by the Univer­sity of the Sun­shine Coast that fol­low­ing my ques­tion in Par­lia­ment late last week a lease was sent to the USC two days later,” Mr Perrett said.

“I wel­come the news that there could be light at the end of the tun­nel.

“Four long years have gone by while Gympie stu­dents have missed op­por­tu­ni­ties which can never be re­trieved.

“They have had to put up with un­rea­son­able stonewalling, ex­cuses and flat out re­fusal to let the USC ac­cess an empty and un­wanted build­ing.”

Mr Perrett still won­dered why noth­ing had hap­pened in the nine months since Ms Fen­ti­man told Par­lia­ment dis­cus­sions had re­opened.

“The TAFE build­ing is a state re­spon­si­bil­ity and it has de­te­ri­o­rated un­der its watch,” he said.

He called on the State Gov­ern­ment to en­sure the build­ing was pre­sented in an ac­cept­able con­di­tion as “sign of good faith”.

And with Gympie Re­gional Coun­cil ap­prov­ing $100,000


to­wards the build­ing’s up­grade in Au­gust, Mr Perrett hoped the State Gov­ern­ment would help.

“Tax­pay­ers’ dol­lars have been wasted as this build­ing de­te­ri­o­rated while a will­ing ten­ant, who would pay for the lease, was wait­ing for ac­cess,” he said.

“It is dis­ap­point­ing that for four years the USC has not been able to of­fer more cour­ses or in­crease its en­rol­ments and co­horts of lo­cals have had to moved away or miss out on the op­por­tu­nity to go to univer­sity.

“Grow­ing the lo­cal cam­pus and of­fer­ing more cour­ses will mean so much for lo­cals un­able to at­tend univer­sity be­cause of dis­tance and fi­nan­cial rea­sons, for the high num­ber of un­em­ployed youth who want to gain skills, and for ma­tureaged stu­dents who are try­ing to up­skill but are not able to move away be­cause of work and fam­ily com­mit­ments.”

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