Swan­song for ag pro­gram

The Western Star - - NEWS -

AFTER run­ning for more than 15 years, the State Gov­ern­ment has axed fund­ing to a unique school pro­gram de­vel­oped by the agri­cul­ture in­dus­try this week.

Today the last Food, Fi­bre and Agri­cul­tural Ed­u­ca­tors Con­fer­ence be­gins in Bris­bane, at­tended by more than 100 spe­cial­ist ag teach­ers who will gather valu­able techniques and first-hand knowl­edge to en­able them to en­gage stu­dents in the vi­tal role of agri­cul­ture and ex­cit­ing ca­reers of­fered in the sec­tor.

Last year the State Gov­ern­ment an­nounced it would no longer pro­vide the $181,000 to fund the pro­gram, be­cause it was no longer rel­e­vant – an un­founded crit­i­cism fiercely de­nied by the Na­tional Ag Ed­u­ca­tors’ As­so­ci­a­tion.

AgForce chief ex­ec­u­tive Michael Guerin said the agri­cul­ture in­dus­try was dumb­founded as to why such an im­por­tant and cost-ef­fec­tive pro­gram that reached more than 10,000 stu­dents every year would be cut.

“For many kids, the pro­gram of­fered their only op­por­tu­nity to learn about farm­ing, about how their food is grown and about what an in­ter­est­ing and di­verse en­vi­ron­ment agri­cul­ture in Queens­land is,” he said.

“The big­gest losers from the ax­ing of the pro­gram are Queens­land kids and we’re call­ing on the Palaszczuk Gov­ern­ment to re­verse this cut.”

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