ALP cops criticism over more cuts to agriculture
THE State Government is feeling the heat following the decision to cut vital funds to agricultural education.
Cuts to the School to Industry Partnership Program mean this year’s Food, Fibre and Agricultural Educators Conference event will be the last.
Opposition Leader Deb Frecklington said cutting $181,000 from agricultural education was running the industry into the ground.
“It’s an absolute disgrace that Labor has shut ag colleges and pulled funding from key ag education programs across the state,” Ms Frecklington said.
“SIPP is a hands-on education program that showcases where food comes from and highlights agricultural job opportunities to school students.
“It’s clear Labor couldn’t care less when it comes to helping young Queenslanders make a start in their ag careers.”
LNP agriculture spokesman Tony Perrett said the cuts to agriculture education had caused Queensland to fall behind other states.
“NSW has implemented compulsory ag classes in high school and Tasmania has invested an additional $16 million into their school farms initiative,” Mr Perrett said.
“The SIPP cut supports Labor’s anti-farmer agenda and follows the introduction of the devastating vegetation management laws, cuts to biosecurity staff and the failure to deliver a proper cattle tick line review.”
Agriculture Minister Mark Furner responded by saying the Palaszczuk Government was committed to evolving agricultural education to match the needs of students.
“Last year, the Premier unveiled the $7 million Rural Centre of Excellence – an agriculture training hub at TAFE Toowoomba,” he said.
After the government announced the closure of agricultural colleges in Longreach and Emerald, pressure from industry groups resulted in it announcing $7 million towards the transition process.
“We are also providing an additional $3 million over the next three years for industry to continue the Rural Jobs and Skills Alliance and the Queensland Agriculture Workforce Network,” Mr Furner said.