December 7, 2018
The State Government has announced it will invest $2.2 million in rural support training programs … just days after it broke the news that Queensland’s last two agricultural colleges would be axed.
On Wednesday, the State Government said it would be closing the agricultural colleges at Emerald and Longreach, drawing an angry response from the LNP and AgForce.
On Friday, the government unveiled its plan to provide training support to farmers and communities severely affected by drought.
Training and Skills Development Minister Shannon Fentiman said the first program, due to start in January, would assist farmers and communities with skills and training to increase business opportunities.
“Currently 57 per cent of Queensland is impacted by drought, and we want to ensure we can support our farmers by providing training opportunities to improve their farming operations and increase opportunities for off-farm income,” Ms Fentiman said.
“The programs are a key initiative to help our rural communities diversify and build employability skills during this time.
“The first program will be rolled out in the Lockyer Valley, Somerset, South Burnett, Toowoomba, Southern Downs and Charters Towers regions.
“TAFE Queensland has designed a range of short courses to enable local farmers and residents in areas affected by drought to upskill, engage with their local communities, and increase off-farm business opportunities.
“The Rural Support Training Programs are an initiative of the Palaszczuk Government’s Regional Skills Adjustment Strategy and we are working closely with TAFE Queensland to offer genuine support to rural Queensland in a time of need.”
TAFE Queensland CEO Mary Campbell said training would be available to support farmers in areas including farm safety, bio-security awareness, workplace health and safety, hospitality, Microsoft skills, and skills to help gain employment in the construction, infrastructure and resource industries.
“This is a great opportunity for those in drought-affected areas to gain additional skills and knowledge as we continue to support our farmers and rural communities,” Ms Campbell said.