The Palaszczuk Government's decision to cut funding for a children's agricultural education program needs to be reversed now not delayed because of a proposed 'skill summit' for which few details have been released, AgForce said today.
AgForce CEO Michael Guerin said the Palaszczuk Government was cutting funding to the School to Industry Partnership Program, a program that taught primary school students where their food came from and highlighted to high school students the diverse range of career opportunities in agriculture.
"This is a unique, hands-on program that works across Queensland to connect school students of all ages with agriculture and show them the important role it plays in their lives," he said.
"The program has always received widespread support and praise from industry, teachers and students for the outcomes it achieves, and with an increase in State Government funding as we requested could reach many more than the 10,000 students already reached every year.
"The Premier has said this week Queensland's agricultural education needs will be considered as part of a skill summit and encouraged AgForce to be involved, but all we know about this summit comes from one line in her recent 'State of the State' speech.
"AgForce hasn't been advised or consulted about a skills summit and we understand the Queensland Farmers' Federation hasn't been either, but we would be prepared to be involved.
"However, you don't need a summit to know that the Queensland Government needs to reverse its funding cuts for the School to Industry Partnership Program. The decision to reinstate funding could and should be made immediately.
"Industry, teachers and schools are all calling on the Queensland Government to maintain funding for the School to Industry Partnership Program.
"Without a decision now to reinstate the funding, events like the upcoming Lockyer Valley Ag Inspirations careers event and the Moo Baa Munch ag awareness days in Toowoomba won't be able to go ahead next year.
"That's why our message to the State Government is don't delay, reinstate this funding today."
AgForce has supported and managed the School to Industry Partnership Program since it began in 2004 with 100% of funds going towards whole-of-agriculture education activities and services. The annual budget is $181,000 with two part-time staff employed to deliver the program.