KAP Deputy Leader and Hinchinbrook MP, Nick Dametto.

23 March 2023

Katter’s Australian Party (KAP) Deputy Leader and State Member for Hinchinbrook, Nick Dametto is optimistic that drastic improvements necessary to breathe new life into the Ingham TAFE campus is another step closer following recent meetings between TAFE, Departmental staff and the Minister for Employment, Small Business and Training, the Hon. Di Farmer.

Mr Dametto first called a roundtable discussion between TAFE representatives and local community stakeholders at the Ingham campus back in September 2022. The purpose of the meeting was for the community to give raw and valuable feedback into how they viewed TAFE and the local campus.

Feedback so far has indicated that for TAFE in Ingham to become successful once again, there needs to be a focus on local and industry specific training that provides students the necessary qualifications while also allowing them to remain living and working locally.

Mr Dametto said the Department of Employment, Small Business and Training (DESBT) was pouring millions of dollars into Townsville’s Bohle TAFE to build a renewable and manufacturing industry specific training centre.

“The Queensland Government is boosting TAFE resources and infrastructure to fill gaps with skills shortages but unfortunately when it comes to some of the older industries, they are being forgotten, despite the massive economic benefit they provide.

“Queensland’s sugar industry adds $3.8 billion to our economy with $2.3 billion of that injected straight back into the state. The Herbert is the second largest contributor of Queensland’s sugar industry, and the region is facing a critical worker shortage putting this year’s sugar season in serious jeopardy.

“The State’s economy will be irreparably damaged if the sugar industry were to go under and since the closure of the Queensland Agricultural Colleges, no succession plans have been put in place by the State for how they intend to train people for industry specific roles within the various agricultural industries, including sugar.

“The agricultural colleges closed because they didn’t offer relevant education and training to keep up with industry demand, some may even say it was set up to fail.” Mr Dametto said.

“TAFE is perfectly placed to provide industry specific training that would help fill drastic worker shortages in the Herbert.

“I recently met with Minister Farmer and several DESBT representatives. From our discussions, I have very high hopes for what changes and offerings we can expect to see at the Ingham TAFE campus in the future.

“We want to attract new people into agriculture, while retaining our youth. We don’t want to lose all our young people to the city because they were led to believe there were no opportunities for them in the regions. The sugar industry is a great industry to be a part of, through skills based training we can create a clear pathway for those to enter it.


Nick Dametto MP