Noosa TAFE Ownership speech

Mr ELMES (Noosa—LNP) (7.02 pm): I rise to speak about what was the Noosa TAFE college and wish to express my sincere ongoing concern regarding the current ownership, management and maintenance of this facility. The Noosa TAFE was constructed in 2004 with widespread community support. The government of the day, supported by the then Noosa council and a group of supporters, decided to build the TAFE college on a very environmentally sensitive piece of land. Council and the community also decided that in the main it would be an arts based facility.

In 2014 students at the Noosa campus were undertaking programs in access and equity, entertainment, music, visual arts, spoken and written English, aged care, recreation, fashion and tourism. Unfortunately, even something as basic to Noosa as a hospitality course was never taught in its entirety, with students having to travel for about half of the course to the Mooloolaba TAFE. Following the QTAMA review, TAFE itself decided that the college was no longer viable. Student numbers had fallen from 714 students in 2006-07 to 265 students in 2013-14. Of those students, 40 were from local high schools and did not attend classes on campus.

There is an opportunity now for the government to sell the empty, deserted buildings to the Noosa council. The offer is on the table and it is well known to the Attorney-General and her staff. They also know that this is the only reasonable offer the government will receive. The buildings have now stood empty for approximately 15 months. As a result of no use at all, the state has a decaying asset. There have also been a couple of random vandalism attacks.

I know that the government is conducting a review into TAFE but the report will not be implemented until July 2016. The Noosa buildings are no longer a TAFE college. There is no-one home. The lights are definitely off. I say very sincerely to the Attorney-General that it is time to turn this site into a valuable community asset.

I do not know why there is a reluctance to sell. I certainly hope it is not because of the so-called asset sales debate dragging on from the last election. My community wants this facility back in local hands. The government must realise that the old campus is only worth what is offered, and the current offer is more than realistic. It is time to sell and allow the Noosa community to turn this facility into something it never did successfully as a TAFE college, and that is create jobs.