The North Queensland region will be hit hard by the Newman Government’s plan to close more than half of the area’s TAFE campuses.
Shadow Treasurer Curtis Pitt said under the plan, only 15 of the 26 TAFE campuses in NQ would remain as the government prepared to rip away thousands of training and education places across Queensland.
“In the election campaign the LNP was not letterboxing regional communities promising to take away their local TAFE facilities,” Mr Pitt said.
“The LNP Government must come clean about which of the campuses in North Queensland will close.
“They need to be honest with the more than 30,000 TAFE students in Cairns, the Cape, Townsville, or Mount Isa as to what impact this plan will have on their education and eventual job prospects.
“Here in Far North Queensland, the TAFE campuses at Cairns and Tagai are already running very lean and won’t cope with any cuts.
“Partnerships like SchoolTech at Woree, and co-location at campuses like Innisfail State College and Atherton are already well evolved.
“Mr Langbroek must give a guarantee that these campuses will remain intact and that access to TAFE will be maintained for local students in North Queensland.”
Mr Pitt said the LNP Government had done little in this space for the last seven months and TAFE colleges have been in limbo with no direction.
“There’s also a concern that a move to focus courses offered on the ‘four pillars’ of mining, construction, tourism and agriculture may leave out one of the most important growth areas.
“Mining is the only pillar that has seen large jobs growth and it’s only grown at around a third of jobs in the health and community care sector.”
Mr Pitt said the Queensland Skills and Training Taskforce had recommended the shrinkage of TAFE campus numbers in:
- North Queensland from 26 to 15 campuses
- Fraser Coast and Sunshine Coast from 13 to eight campuses
- Gold Coast from six to three campuses
- Brisbane’s Western Corridor from 16 to 11 campuses
- Brisbane Metropolitan Region from 15 to 5 campuses
- Skills Tech Australia from six to two campuses in the Brisbane region.
“Mr Langbroek needs to explain whether shrinking the number of campuses delivering training to Queenslanders from 82 to 44 will mean the loss of jobs and the loss of community assets and facilities across our state,” he said.
Mr Pitt said the State Opposition would be examining the full report in coming days.