Queensland well runs dry on Ag training
3 August 2023
Recently revealed data indicates that since Labor closed the doors for good on Queensland’s agricultural training colleges in 2019, little has been done to fill the gap and provide hands on agricultural industry training in areas across Queensland where they are needed the most.
Hinchinbrook MP and Katter’s Australian Party (KAP) Deputy Leader, Nick Dametto, directed a Question on Notice to the Minister for Training and Skills Development, the Hon Di Farmer MP, seeking confirmation of how many students had successfully completed a Certificate III in Agriculture through TAFE Queensland.
The Minister’s response confirmed that for the last five years, on average only 50 students completed a Certificate III in Agriculture per year across the entire state and an average of just over one student per year completed the course in North Queensland.
The Hinchinbrook MP said the figures were dismal considering the large economic benefit the agricultural industry returned to the Queensland economy.
“Industries like agriculture, mining and construction carried Queensland through its darkest days of the Covid pandemic. Without primary industries such as these, our state’s economy would collapse, these industries deserve appropriate training to ensure the skilled workforce is there to carry them into the future,” Mr Dametto said.
“The agricultural and fisheries sector injected approximately $23.44 billion into the Queensland economy last financial year alone, this industry deserves reinvestment into training.
“Potential students and industry alike are in need of better local training options but many I speak to have simply given up on TAFE Queensland to resolve the training and skills shortage crisis in Queensland. In many cases, industry has stepped up to the plate and started to implement and run their own training programs to fill the skilled worker shortage.
“In 2021-22, Queensland produced more than half of Australia’s total produce of sugar cane, sorghum, capsicums, macadamias, sweet corn and cattle. Products in these large quantities don’t grow just by luck.
“To ensure crops are grown with high productivity in mind while aligning with Government regulation and understanding the agronomy of the land, it’s important to have people educated in the field of agriculture to ensure farming has a future.
“During this week’s estimates hearings, I will be putting questions to the Minister for Training and Skills Development to draw out what significant commitment this State is willing to make to turn agricultural training in Queensland around.