Region can't lose ag colleges, say MPs
KATTER Australian Party isn't the only political party calling on the Queensland Government to reconsider their decision to close Emerald Agricultural College.
During a visit to the college this week, Federal Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources David Littleproud said the closure was "about taking young people out of regional and rural Australia”.
"In the middle of the drought when the Federal Government spent $7 billion trying to build these communities up, the State Government's come in and taken it all away,” he said.
"They're taking hundreds of jobs out of Emerald and Longreach and they're taking away the next generation of farmers.
"This is the only real cut to education we've seen and it's come from the Labor Government.”
Mr Littleproud also took aim at Labor candidate for Flynn Zac Beers, asking where he stood on the issue.
"Where's Zac Beers?” he said.
"Where's Zac Beers standing here, telling the State Government, 'You cannot do this to regional and rural Australia?
"He's meant to want to represent this part of the world.
"Instead he's turned his back for his Labor mates.
"If he's serious, he needs to look the people of Emerald and the people of the bush in the eye and say 'This cannot happen'.
"He needs to make a comment very quick, he needs to get to Brisbane very quick and he needs to tell Annastacia Palaszczuk this needs to stop for Emerald and Longreach right now.”
Member for Flynn Ken O'Dowd said Emerald Agricultural College was "a very important part” of the region's education system.
"We're (the LNP) all about agriculture ... but to get the young people to come through and getting the young people into the area, we need to train them and train them properly,” he said.
"Longreach and Emerald depend very much on the jobs the colleges provide.
"To lose it (the agriculture college) would be a tragedy and once you lose a thing, it's very hard to get it back.
"This is a wonderful facility with wonderful assets.
"We can't lose it.”
Mr O'Dowd said the LNP was committed to the future of agriculture.
"That's what we're all about - jobs in agriculture in the future, jobs now that exist here in Emerald and in Longreach - we want to see it continue.”
Beers addresses LNP members' comments
LABOR candidate for Flynn Zac Beers has refuted Mr Littleproud and Mr O'Dowd's comments, labelling them "a desperate scare campaign”.
"Ken O'Dowd and the LNP have failed to stand up for schools and education at every turn,” Mr Beers said.
"This is a desperate scare campaign by a local member trying to distract everyone from his own failures when it comes to local schools.
"We know that Ken O'Dowd and the LNP love to cut, that's why they've cut $14 billion from schools already.”
Mr Beers said it had also been revealed the LNP will "have to cut a further $40 billion to pay for their tax handout to the top end of town”.
"No one can doubt our commitment to rural education,” Mr Beers said.
"It's why a Labor Government will invest almost $28 million additional funding for schools in the Flynn electorate alone over the next three years.
"Emerald State High School alone will receive an extra $1,120,000 under a Labor Government in just the first three years.
"Labor is the only party committed to delivering better education for Central Queensland.
"If Ken O'Dowd and the LNP are serious about regional education, then they should back our plan to deliver more funding for local schools.”