Key Job into The New Year

AgForce says it’s now up to farmers….with Agriculture Minister Mark Furner failing to deliver the Christmas gift his industry wanted.

An opportunity to save the State’s agricultural colleges.

AgForce says it will now convene a community steering committee to develop a plan. General President Georgie Somerset says the Minister has again failed the industry.

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“AgForce was initially encouraged by what we hoped was a positive start to discussions with Minister Furner a couple of weeks ago. The Minister said he would contact us before Christmas to respond to our proposal, but we are yet to hear anything despite us repeatedly following up with his office.”

“We need to keep this critical issue moving, so AgForce will facilitate a meeting of industry and community stakeholders early in the New Year.”

the future of the iconic colleges, and of agricultural education in Queensland, is crucial to the primary sector being able to enjoy the customary ‘happy and prosperous New Year’.

“We want to ensure our primary producers, and the hundreds of thousands of Queenslanders whose jobs rely on them, have a profitable, sustainable and smart future, and that we can continue to build on our $10 billion annual contribution to the State’s economy.”

Mrs Somerset says AgForce had already engaged in positive and constructive discussions with many individuals and organisations throughout Queensland who believed that the colleges should and could be saved.

“We have received unanimous and resounding support from the many regional communities, mayors and councils, local businesses, educators, other industry sectors and, most importantly, producers, we have spoken with for an industry-led plan to save the ag colleges.”

“We have had extremely useful discussions with Central Highlands and Longreach Regional Councils and the Remote Area Planning and Development Board (RAPAD) about how AgForce can facilitate a united, State-wide approach to saving the ag colleges in their communities.”

“We are well advanced in the consultation process and are already gathering ideas for a solution.

“I am confident we can broker a grassroots proposal to retain the ag colleges as the centrepiece of a contemporary, comprehensive and sustainable rural education framework that meets the future needs of our industry and our regions.”

AgForce plans to begin work on this proposal as a priority in 2019 and present it to the Minister before the end of the second academic term.

“We aren’t asking Minister Furner for Christmas favours, but we are 100% certain that, when the agriculture industry and rural communities come together, we will develop a plan that is financially sound and sustainable.”

“I encourage anyone with ideas or suggestions to help keep the colleges open make contact with AgForce to express their views,” Mrs Somerset said.

“Posting comments to our Facebook page – @AgForceQLD -is the best way to participate in the discussion, or send us your thoughts to agforce@agforceqld.org.au”