CLOSED: The Emerald and Longreach agricultural colleges closed their doors last week.
CLOSED: The Emerald and Longreach agricultural colleges closed their doors last week.

Ag colleges close their doors

GENERATIONS of men and women have trained at the Emerald and Longreach agricultural colleges since their establishment in the 1960s.

Last Friday was the final day of operation, after a 2018 review that prompted the state government to shut the residential training centres.

Member for Gregory, Lachlan Millar said the closure was "devastating".

"What the Labor Party's done is taken away an important agricultural training institution from regional Queensland," he said.

"We need to have an agricultural training aspect at those colleges. Just shutting them is defeatist. We need to find a way to encourage these colleges to survive and be with current times."

Mr Millar said he was frustrated by not having been invited to the regular stakeholder meetings.

"The minister hasn't included me in the proposals, and they're proposals that no-one understands. They haven't involved stakeholders. They haven't involved industry.

"I think they're being secretive about what they're doing. No-one knows what's going on, and we're none the wiser than 12 months ago."

Minister for Agriculture Mark Furner said Mr Millar "hasn't been paying attention".

"It is disappointing that Mr Miller has such a negative view of the Emerald community and the opportunity that the former College facilities present for this community.

"As has been widely reported, the Project Management Office has received a number of proposals for the future repurposing of the college facilities at Longreach and Emerald and is working through the business case process.

He said the facilities would play a role in Emerald and Longreach's future.

"The PMO, headed by Charles Burke, has worked closely with community consultative committees in Emerald and Longreach to ensure the needs of these communities are at the forefront when the future of these facilities is decided.

"Those committees have included business and other stakeholder representatives. The Emerald and Longreach communities have an exciting future ahead of them."


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