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    Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry
    The Honourable John McVeigh

    Emerald Ag College and Longreach Pastoral College to remain open

    Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry
    The Honourable John McVeigh

    Tuesday, September 04, 2012

    Emerald Ag College and Longreach Pastoral College to remain open

    The Emerald Agricultural College and the Longreach Pastoral College will remain open and be ready for an intake of new students in 2013 Agriculture, Fisheries & Forestry Minister John McVeigh announced today.

    The Minister met with the Local Advisory Boards, key agricultural stakeholders and the local Mayors and CEOs in Emerald last night and Longreach this morning to outline he and senior managers would work to turn the management and financial standing of the colleges around.

    This follows the DAFF-commissioned Ernst & Young review which found the colleges’ overarching body – the Australian Agricultural College Corporation - was in a serious financial mess - forecast to lose up to $6.8 million this year.

    “There’s absolutely no doubt these colleges need a major shake-up, as highlighted by the Ernst & Young report, but I’m confident we can turn this around and have them be ready for next year’s intake of students at both campuses,” Mr McVeigh said.

    “This ends any uncertainty for prospective students and their families. They can enrol in courses at either Emerald or Longreach and know that if they put in the hard yards, they can graduate with a recognised agriculture qualification.”

    Mr McVeigh said both local advisory boards and agricultural stakeholders have committed to work with him to fix the mess left by previous Minister Tim Mulherin and Labor - to turn the colleges around and make sure they deliver what industry needs.

    “Agricultural training at these campuses must be done in a cost-effective and realistic manner and deliver what industry needs.

    “The Ernst & Young review found AACC’s management practices were extremely poor, operating costs were out of control and record-keeping was extremely poor and management had failed to properly audit its campuses for workplace health and safety compliance.

    “This happened while Labor’s Agriculture Minister Tim Mulherin sat on his hands and did nothing to stop the ag colleges from careening down the road to ruin,” he said

    “I’ve asked my Director General and the AACC’s new interim manager Brent Kinnane to implement an action plan to redress the problems with financial management, work place health safety and other compliance issues. The Newman Government is committed to making agriculture one of the four pillars of our economy as part of our plan to double food production by 2040 and get Queensland back on track.”

    [ENDS] 04 September 2012

    Media Contact:
    Lachlan Millar – 0407 394 580