College comes to the rescue
IT is back to business as normal at the Australian Agricultural College Corporation, which recently started its first year under the direction of newly appointed CEO Tony Raynor.
The Emerald campus played an important role as an evacuation centre during the recent floods, housing up to 150 people during the crisis while serving as a base for several vital services including a healthcare facility for residents.
Student services manager Tim Bulger oversaw the operation which involved SES, Australian Red Cross, Salvation Army, hospital staff and a hoard of evacuees existing on campus.
“It all went fairly well in the end,” Mr Bulger said.
“The Salvation Army was fantastic in organising food to be flown in and all the organisations worked really well together.
“It was a bit difficult for us at first because we were down to skeleton staff since we were actually closed for the break, but we had a lot of help in the end and we all pulled through.”
Mr Bulger said the Queensland Ambulance Service was still operating a number of vehicles from the campus while their usual base underwent flood repairs. During the disaster Emerald health staff had a doctor and nurses on site as well.
While it may not have been the ideal start for the new CEO, Mr Rayner said the operations had no impact on the upcoming business plan for the corporation.
“We are looking at reinvesting into new and old sites, modernising and maintaining some facilities, while also disinvesting in certain areas,” he said.
“We aim to ensure that we have adequate skill sets within the agricultural industry.”
Mr Rayner said numbers were slowly increasing on college campuses and added that a large percentage come from city or urban backgrounds.
“Most of them thoroughly enjoy their experience and in turn go on to seek successful careers in the agricultural industry,” he said.