Former Queensland Agricultural Training Colleges

Annual report 2019-2020

The former Queensland Agricultural Training Colleges Final Report for the period 1 July 2019 to 29 February 2020 has been tabled in the Legislative Assembly of Queensland.

The official copy of the final report, as tabled in the Legislative Assembly of Queensland can be accessed from Queensland Parliament's Tabled papers.

Full final report

Records

Archives and memorabilia

  • QATC has formed a network of staff to assist with archiving education, human resources and corporate records and preserve any memorabilia—including photographs, documents and trophies. The Longreach Past Students and Staff Association has offered to assist with the memorabilia.

Background

Queensland Agricultural Training Colleges (QATC) ceased operation on 6 December 2019.

At that time, all students had either completed their studies at QATC or had been transferred to an alternative training provider at no cost to themselves.

Longreach and Emerald colleges

Successive Queensland Governments have made considerable efforts to improve the relevance and performance of the Queensland Agricultural Training Colleges (QATC) and have invested considerable funding to keep them operating.

As a result of declining student numbers and successive deficits, Emeritus Professor Peter Coaldrake was engaged to provide recommendations on how to grow the vocational education, training and skills sector in central-western Queensland.

The purpose of the review was to optimise the government’s investment in vocational education and training in the region to ensure employers have access to a skilled workforce and prospective students can access local quality training and employment opportunities.

The Queensland Government considered Professor Coaldrake’s recommendations and decided to close the QATC at the end of 2019 and repurpose the colleges’ facilities.

This decision was not taken lightly and the government is committed to engaging widely with local communities, businesses and education providers to determine the best way to repurpose the available training facilities and assets, so they can be used more effectively.

Legislation

Legislation to repeal the Queensland Agricultural Training Colleges Act 2005 was passed by the Parliament on 6 February 2020. Following repeal, the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries (DAF) becomes responsible for all assets and obligations of QATC, including asset ownership.

Caretaker arrangements

DAF took over management of the ex-QATC sites at Longreach, Emerald and Blackwater once the QATC finished practical operations.

The 2021-22 State Budget allocated $16.74M to maintain and repurpose the former at Emerald and Longreach QATC properties for future uses and establish the Central Queensland Smart Cropping Centre at Emerald.

Longreach facility (Outback training and innovation hub)

On 19 February 2020, the Minister for Agricultural Industry Development and Fisheries, Hon Mark Furner, announcement an agreement with the Remote Area Planning and Development Board (RAPAD) for the Longreach site, allowing RAPAD to accommodate community events, training and commercial interests and the former College’s memorabilia and other historical elements will be retained.

DAF will continue negotiations with the Remote Area Planning and Development (RAPAD) and other interested parties to identify suitable repurposing options for the former Longreach Pastoral College.

Emerald training facility

DAF is currently in discussions with the Central Highlands Regional Council and Central Highlands Development Corporation on alternative options for future use of the campus and related areas at the Emerald site.

DAF will be enhancing and expanding its existing Emerald Research Facility located at the Emerald site as the Central Queensland Smart Cropping Centre.

The Emerald property has both the necessary size and suitable soil types for extensive RD&E activities that support the significant grains sector in the Central Queensland region.

DAF has engaged a consultant to develop a business model for the Smart Cropping Centre, drawing on stakeholder input.

The Smart Cropping Centre is envisaged to be an innovation flagship that brings together RD&E in areas such as farming systems, agronomy, crop innovation and plant protection, together with the latest innovations in AgTech and data sciences to deliver a world-class research hub for Queensland's cropping sector.

Berrigurra station

Berrigurra Station sold at auction in May 2021 for $32.5million with the nett sale proceeds to be returned to Treasury as per Queensland Government policy.