September 13, 2018
AgForce says Queensland school students will be the big losers from a State Government decision to cut funding for its hands-on agricultural education program.
AgForce CEO Michael Guerin said the School to Industry Partnership Program had been operating since 2004 and worked with more than 10,000 students and teachers every year.
“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,” Mr Guerin said.
“The Palaszczuk Government’s short-sighted decision to cut funding to this program will mean Queensland kids will become even more disconnected from where their food comes from and how it is produced.”
AgForce has supported and managed the School to Industry Partnership Program since it began in 2004 with 100 per cent of funds going towards whole-of-agriculture education activities and services.
The annual budget is $181,000 with two part-time staff employed to deliver the program.
“Axing this program will mean fewer kids pursuing a career in agriculture at a time when the industry is already facing critical skills shortages and technology is transforming the way we farm,” Mr Guerin said.
“It will mean the end of dedicated industry tours that give students direct contact with primary producers and potential employers.
“For our hard working agriculture teachers who already have a difficult job, it means less professional development opportunities and less support from industry.”
Mr Guerin said the School to Industry Partnership Program was first funded by the Beattie Labor Government and had been funded by every State Government since on the back of the widespread support it had across agriculture, and from schools, teachers and students.
Opposition Leader Deb Frecklington said the decision showed “just how out of touch’ the State Government was.
“When is she going to stop attacking agriculture and our farmers?” Mrs Frecklington said.
“Education around agriculture is an important stepping stone for encouraging people to buy our produce.
“Why is Annastacia Palaszczuk so determined to damage the bush?
“I call on Labor to reinstate this important education funding.”