A major employment, training and regional development organisation with almost three decades of experience promoting sustainable growth in Central Western Queensland will sign an agreement to occupy the former Longreach campus of the Queensland Agricultural Training College.
Minister for Agricultural Industry Development and Fisheries Mark Furner said RAPAD would sign an initial agreement through to November 2020 in a significant step toward meeting the expectations of the Longreach community.
“This agreement will allow RAPAD to accommodate community events, training and commercial interests and, importantly, the former College’s memorabilia and other historical elements will be retained,” Mr Furner said.
“RAPAD has a much-deserved proven reputation as an employment and training organisation but also as a builder of communities.
“We know the community wanted these facilities retained in community uses, they wanted a future for industry-specific training and they above all they wanted to be listened to.
“I am very grateful for the way local community members have engaged in the consultation process and made a real contribution to a successful outcome.”
Mr Furner said RAPAD was a trusted not-for-profit company whose members included the Longreach, Winton, Diamantina, Boulia, Blackall-Tambo, Barcoo and Barcaldine regional councils.
“I’m pleased to confirm agreement has been reached in accordance with the deliberations of the local consultative stakeholder committee and with extensive consultation and input from the local community,” he said.
Mr Furner said the agreement was only the first stage of what will become a more permanent arrangement contributing to the economic success of the Longreach community and the wider region.
“The Queensland Government will assist RAPAD with resources to develop a detailed business case, which will inform the longer-term arrangements for the facility,” he said.
“The Department of Agriculture and Fisheries will continue to maintain the college assets in partnership with RAPAD as we move towards a more permanent occupancy arrangement.”
RAPAD chief executive officer David Arnold said he and the RAPAD board were looking forward to working in partnership with Mr Furner and the Queensland Government on this important next step for the former Longreach Pastoral College.
“We realise it’s early days, but we’re committed to this transition,” Mr Arnold said.
The Queensland Government invited proposals from businesses, organisations and individuals for the future use of the Queensland Agricultural Training College facilities in Longreach and Emerald last year.
It followed an independent review that found declining demand for traditional agricultural industry training as it had been delivered.
Mr Furner said negotiations on the future of the Emerald facility are continuing.