News

Still no budging on wasted Gympie TAFE building

Tim Nichols and Tony Perrett at the USC building in Gympie.
Tim Nichols and Tony Perrett at the USC building in Gympie. Renee Albrecht

THE State Labor Government and now the Premier has refused to commit to publicly release an overdue review into TAFE assets which would let Gympie university students know whether they will have more opportunities to study locally, says Gympie MP Tony Perrett.

Mr Perrett said the Premier's refusal in Parliament this week meant yet another year of high school students and mature aged students who want to study locally would be denied.

"On numerous occasions we have been told that the potential lease of an empty and unused Gympie TAFE building to the University of the Sunshine Coast is contingent on the release of the 10-year Strategic Infrastructure Plan.

"Despite being due for release in July last year, and costing almost $1 million in consultations, the Attorney-General and Minister for Training and Skills, Yvette D'Ath, obstinately refuses to release the document or grant a lease to USC.

"TAFE has already said it doesn't even want the building which sits across the carpark from the Gympie campus of the USC.

"The university wants access to the building so that it can increase enrolments and the courses on offer.

"When asked to intervene and commit to the plan's release the Premier ducked and weaved running protection for the ineffectual Minister.

"With a youth unemployment level which has risen by 2.5 % in the last year to 23.5 % in the Wide Bay region the response demonstrates that the Premier and government pays lip service to supporting youth in the regions.

"It is time the Premier was decisive and told the Minister to release the report, make a decision, or be sacked,” he said.

"The Minister has deliberately sat on this decision since the election in January 2015 showing a complete disregard for the Gympie students.

"In those three years someone could have gone to university and now be completing the last semester of a basic undergraduate degree,” he said.

Mr Perrett said that out of sheer bloody-mindedness the Minister has been intransigent in giving Gympie students a choice in tertiary education, a choice in opportunities, or a choice in improving their chances of securing a long term job.

"For a year we were told we had to wait for a review and then after the review was due we were told we had to wait for a draft for a final plan,” Mr Perrett said.

"Late last year the Minister had no idea of a timeline for consultation, a release date for the draft plan or when a final decision on a final plan was due.

"In May the Minister advised that the 'government is taking the time to fully consider stakeholder views before releasing the Plan'.

"Then only two months later at Estimates in July the Director General of the Department of Employment and Training, Dr Watterston, said that 'I make no apology for not having the plan ready'.

"It is obvious the Minister is either not in control of the agenda or the department and is ducking the decision.

"The Minister also told Estimates that "... we will continue to partner with other agencies and with universities” and that "we are happy to enter into arrangements for sharing space where TAFE does not need it in the immediate future”:

"Given this litany of conflicting excuses I have asked two more Questions on Notice which the Minister is required to respond by 11 September.*

"We need clear and unambiguous answers to a number of question including: when the Department advised that the plan was not finalised, when it will be finalised, is there even a timeline on the completion of the plan, and whether interested stakeholders were advised that the plan is still not completed.

"Given that TAFE has previously advised it does not want the building I have also asked when a lease will be granted to the USC and whether it will be in time for students to make a preference for the Gympie campus in the 2018 academic year.

"Gympie students are only asking for a fair go.

"The indecision is creating lost opportunities for local students who are unable to attend university because of distance and financial factors, for the high number of unemployed youth who want to gain skills, for mature-aged students who are trying to upskill but are unable to move away because of work and family commitments, and for our community when students have to move away and permanently and reluctantly leave our region,” he said.

Gympie Times

Topics:  gympie politics gympie tafe tony perrett usc gympie


Stay Connected

Update your news preferences and get the latest news delivered to your inbox.

Carmichael College holds inaugural Fun Day

UNIQUE: Cohen and Avaleigh are gearing up for Carmichael College's inaugural Family Fun Day after two years of operation.

Carmichael College holds inaugural Fun Day

How to beat shocking power bills

LIGHT BULB MOMENT: Amy and Dwight Croome's bright idea to save on power bills.

How to beat shocking power bills

Two-car crash shuts down part of Bruce Hwy

ON THE ROAD: Emergency services near the Eumundi Rd exit on the Bruce Hwy.

Woman injured in crash that closed part of the Bruce Hwy

Local Partners

Morayfield bushfire under control

Six crews attended the scene at around this morning and have worked to keep the fire under control.

REVEALED: Liam Gallagher is coming to Falls Festival

English musician, singer, and songwriter, former lead singer of the rock band Oasis, Liam Gallagher performs during his concert at National Olympic Sports Center in Beijing, China, 10 August 2017.

He revealed the news ahead of the official line up announcement

Jemma's bewitching voice

STAGE PRESENCE: Suzie Mathers and Jemma Rix in a scene from Wicked The Musical.

Wicked musical theatre star Jemma Rix has released her debut album.

This laughter yoga video will have you in fits of giggles

BEST MEDICINE: Karen Flannery is spreading happiness through laughter throughout Hervey Bay.

New members needed for a laughing good time

Reese Witherspoon on being a ‘has-been’ at 36

REESE Witherspoon might have an Oscar on her mantle and made millions at the box office but that hasn’t stopped people declaring her career is over.

RECAP: Game of Thrones s7 e6 - Beyond the Wall

Kristofer Hivju, Kit Harington, Iain Glen, Paul Kaye and Joe Dempsie in a scene from Game of Thrones.

*Warning this story contains spoilers about today's new episode*

Paul Kelly announces massive Australian tour

Paul Kelly is going on a 16-date national tour in November.

Music legend thrills fans with the announcement of a massive tour.

Survivor twist bound to shock

Sunshine Coast mum-of-three Tara Pitt.

TARA Pitt benefited from a shock twist on Australian Survivor.

The Block goes back to school with gorgeous kids rooms

Ronnie and Georgia's winning kids bedroom in a scene from The Block.

ONE magical bedroom received the first perfect score of the season.

What's on the small screen this week

Rob Collins and Jessica Marais in a scene from season two of The Wrong Girl.

JESSICA Marais returns in The Wrong Girl.

Playing Tom Cruise's wife was a dream for Sarah Wright

Tom Cruise and Sarah Wright in American Made.

The actress stars opposite Cruise in the action comedy

Investors quick to snap up property in key growth corridor

High-profile commercial site sells at auction for $4.920m

EXPLAINED: What the 'Costco effect' means for Ipswich

PRICE WARS: A Costco store similar to this one in Canberra, is planned for Ipswich.

Exclusive 'cult' about to change how families do grocery shopping

4800 homes to be built in massive new Coast estate

Masterplanned community full steam ahead - it's not Caloundra South

Open for inspection homes August 17 - 23

Check out this weekend's homes open for inspection.

Airbnb, Stayz and co tipped to squeeze Coast housing market

HOLIDAY BOOM: Airbnb letting is putting a further squeeze on long-term rentals.

Councils exploring options to manage the industry

Ready to SELL your property?

Post Your Ad Here!