Queenslanders urged to help save ag education program from axe

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Queenslanders urged to help save ag education program from axe
Tuesday, 18 Sep 2018

Queenslanders are being urged to help save a long-running children’s agricultural education program facing the axe as a result of State Government funding cuts.

AgForce CEO Michael Guerin said the School to Industry Partnership Program (SIPP) had been operating since 2004 and engaged with more than 10,000 Queensland school students and teachers every year to showcase where food comes from and to highlight job opportunities in agriculture.

“This is a unique 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.

“This program has provided the first opportunity for many children to touch sheep, cattle and chickens, to learn that cotton is from a plant, to pull vegetables from a garden and to climb over tractors.

“AgForce was dismayed to receive a letter from the Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries stating ‘DAF is unable to contribute any funding to SIPP beyond 2018’ although we note the Minister is now saying ‘the program is currently under review and no decision has been made on its future’*.

“With the program receiving just $181,000 a year in government funding to engage with 10,000 students and teachers, we believe the program is delivering excellent bang for buck and should continue.”

Mr Guerin said he’d been heartened by the outpouring of support for the program from teachers, students, farmers, industry groups and everyday Queenslanders since the news broke, while an online petition had been set up by a North Queensland vet student calling on the Palaszczuk Government to reverse its decision.

“We urge Queenslanders to keep voicing their support for the School to Industry Partnership Program, to sign the petition, to share their thoughts on social media using the hashtag #SaveSIPP, to talk to their local MPs and to contact the Agriculture Minister Mark Furner directly,” he said.

Minister Furner can be contacted via email at agriculture@ministerial.qld.gov.au while the online petition can be signed at https://bit.ly/2xpKcgO

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.

Media Contacts: Scott Whitby 0418 733 102, Sarah Henderson 0427 626 853

* ‘Queensland agricultural program funding cut’, Queensland Country Life online, 12 September 2018

Queenslanders urged to help save ag education program from axe

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