Friday, 21stJuly 2017

Three years, no plan and no future for Noosa TAFE under Labor

Following statements made by the Minister for Training and Skills, Hon Yvette D’Ath MP, in the Estimates Hearing on Thursday 20th July, Member for Noosa Glen Elmes is now suspicious that Labor may have a secret plan to sell off the old Tewantin TAFE after the State Election.

“This Labor Government started a review into the future of this vital piece of community infrastructure two and half years ago, completed consultation 12 months ago, and yet there is still no publicly available plan.

“There can only be one reason for the Government’s silence and that is the Minister does not want to have an honest conversation with the community about asset sales,” State Member for Noosa Glen Elmes said.

“Many letters, meeting requests, Questions on Notice in Parliament and personal pleas to Minister D’Ath over the past two and half years have been for nothing.

Not only has Labor confirmed that their plans for the TAFE will not be made clear to the community until after the election,  the Minister made the astonishing statement during the Estimates Hearing, and I quote Hansard Thursday 20 July 2017:

Mrs D’ATH: In the meantime we have said that we will continue to partner with other agencies, with private RTOs, with industries and with universities. We are happy to enter into arrangements for sharing space where TAFE does not need it in the immediate future, for short-term arrangements..”

“Today I have written once again to the Minister asking her to outline the criterion, conditions and formal processes for local registered training organisations, agencies, universities etc to partner with the department to utlise unused space, such as the buildings at the Noosa TAFE site.

“Surely it is reasonable to expect that a Government should be able to make one decision in three years about its own assets.

“The scoping studies into what appears to be a secret sell-off plan, have already cost Queensland taxpayers’ $1 million and when you add to this the operational and maintenance costs of empty decaying buildings, the Government’s dishonest handling and irresponsible financial management is simply unforgiveable.

“At the last count it cost $88,000 over 7 months (July 2015-January 2016) to operate and maintain the old Noosa TAFE site, that’s approximately $12,600 per month – and for what – the site remains a home to vandals, two and half years after it was closed.

“Why else would Labor wait until after the election to reveal the results of a lengthy and costly review into TAFE ASSETS if they were not fearful of a community backlash. The truth is, the community do not want to see facilities go to waste and they do not want to be kept in the dark and treated like idiots.

“It has always been my view that the site must be reopened in one way or another as an institution to teach the kinds of skills that will translate into jobs.

“A Tim Nicholls-led LNP government would create new jobs, support small business and invest in education to raise standards, Mr Elmes said.

[ENDS] Media Contact Noosa Electorate Office 5319 3100