A CONSORTIUM of private and corporate pastoral interests has lodged an application seeking to gain private control of the land and associated infrastructure assets of the former Longreach Pastoral College in Western Queensland.
AAM Investment Group is coordinating the bid to retain and return critical training services to the agricultural industry and local community.
On Thursday, AAM managing director Garry Edwards and management team members will travel to Longreach to hold a community consultation session with interested local community members and key stakeholders on proposed plans for the site, with a formal tender for the facility to be submitted to the Queensland Government by its deadline of February 23.
On 17 February, AAM representatives will be available in Longreach for further discussions with interested parties who wish to be actively and financially involved in the project.
Mr Edwards said he was committed to ensuring the former college was reinstated as a key source of knowledge sharing and skills development for the pastoral industries, as well as a hub for the local community and businesses to access and utilise.
The consortium’s tender is expected to include the entire 17,511ha of land including Rosebank Station adjoining the College site, modern classroom and accommodation facilities and other practical agricultural infrastructure.
“When Longreach Pastoral College was closed in 2019 it highlighted a major problem in Queensland in the need for modernisation and relevance of agricultural training,” Mr Edwards said.
“Losing facilities like this leave a gaping hole in the state’s capacity to develop the skills of the workforce required by Australia’s thriving farm sector and took away what had, for more than half a century, been part of the lifeblood of the Longreach community,” he said.
“As part of our collective vision, the companies involved in the consortium believe that the Longreach Pastoral College can be rejuvenated to become a trustworthy, viable and inter-generational learning centre. It won’t be unlike the renowned Marcus Oldham College in Victoria, offering a range of certified educational and training courses, while incorporating local tourism activities and educational activities for primary and high school students who don’t have the chance for exposure to regional Australia and our agricultural industries.”
The group also sees the site potentially being used for tertiary learning, veterinary studies and research and development, possibly in collaboration with industry Research and Development Corporations and other industry groups, to become a source of employment, relevance and opportunity for all of Western Queensland.
“Australian agriculture is flourishing and rapidly evolving to be a sector that requires a vast diversity of skills and knowledge,” Mr Edwards said. “We want to help be part of a solution that will meet this need, while ensuring a site, that has a legacy of education dating back generations, is used for its highest and best purpose.”
The public consultation meeting is open to all stakeholders and will be held at the Longreach Council Chambers from 6:30pm Thursday February 16.
Email firstname.lastname@example.org to register your interest in the meeting, and the ongoing project.
My sincere congratulations to the AAM consortium biddders on recognising the value of a privately run and managed Agricultural training facility as had the “Foresight of the Forefathers” in establishing the Longreach Pastoral College in the 1960’s which went on to provide a valued workforce who in turn achieved greatness within the industry Australia wide.
As a past student from 1968/69 in the formative years and a member of the Longreach Pastoral College Past Students and Staff Assoc. Inc. we trust the Government will recognise the value of this bid. Peter Taylor
At last we are getting the right people to think about Ag training we hope.
Some months ago i saw in beef central an article about funding for Ag studies in America.
As I understood the concept , big ag business would donate cash or sale proceeds to fund college’s or other places of learning. I thought that was a brilliant idea.
The question is if Marcus Oldham and other places dawn south can be financially viable ,why not QLD.
The last of the LNP, Country party legacy which must be erraised perhaps
Successive state and federal governments on both sides, as well as industry, dropped the ball on Ag College funding and TAFE education. It was permitted to be, kicked around, back and forth without anyone ever taking responsibility. Eventually after decades of neglect, it was put in the too hard basket.
It’s not credible to blame any single political party, (especially the current Qld state government, who simply inherited a proverbial poo sandwich) when Qld Ag Colleges had been in financial decline for more than 20 years.
LPC facilities back in 2000 were good, but still required additional ongoing development, however inadequate funding ensured the facility not only failed to prosper and evolve into Australia’s premier Ag Training facility that it was destined to become, but it declined and closed, along with the Emerald and Burdekin Ag Colleges.
Their closure represents a failure of monumental proportion and serves as a damning indictment on state & federal governments and the multiple industries the colleges served.
I discussed many of the issues confronting LPC with the late Vaughan Johnson (who was acutely aware of the importance of the facility) on several occasions, before his retirement in 2015. We found it incredibly disheartening that such an incredibly valuable asset, was clearly on a pathway to closure. We also agreed that without strong and loud industry leadership and advocacy to ensure ongoing political will at federal and state level to maintain Ag Colleges, closures would follow and they did.
So here we are, in 2023 attempting to close the gate, after the horse has well and truly bolted.
The relevant industries must combine to form a united and significantly stronger interest and become an active voice, to ensure that not only does LPC reopen, but that it quickly makes up for lost time and returns to its’ rightful place as an Agricultural sector training icon, celebrated Australia wide.
For this to occur, there must be a significant mind shift at all levels regarding Ag Colleges. They must be viewed as nationally significant educational facilities, otherwise their closure will continue to be to the detriment of the nation.
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Three cheers and more for the consortium, may it succeed in its endeavours. BUT, beware the government bearing woke conditions.
Congratulations AAM on proposing such a worthy project
Should never had got to this situation
Never has our industry needed a grounded regional educational facility such as Longreach more than now