Toowoomba students among worst hit by ag education cut

Toowoomba students among worst hit by ag education cut
Monday, 24 Sep 2018

Toowoomba and Darling Downs students will be among the worst affected by the Palaszczuk Government’s decision to cut funding for a hands-on agricultural education program, AgForce said today.

AgForce CEO Michael Guerin said the School to Industry Partnership Program (SIPP) co-ordinated numerous events throughout the region that would not be able to go ahead beyond the end of the year due to the funding cut.

“The SIPP team connects school students of all ages with agriculture and that’s particularly important in an area renowned as one of Australia’s agricultural powerhouses,” he said.

“With the Premier and her Cabinet governing from Toowoomba this week, we urge them to re-consider their decision to axe this important children’s agricultural education program.

“The Premier has said this week’s visit is all about ‘sowing the seeds of prosperity for this regional heartland’ and what better way to do that than by investing in a program aimed at increasing children’s awareness of where their food comes from and encouraging the next generation to pursue a career in agriculture.”*

Mr Guerin said a ‘Moo Baa Munch’ agricultural awareness event at Downlands College in Toowoomba was attended by more than 600 primary and high school students and 40 teachers from throughout the Darling Downs region in 2017, and another event was planned for 30/31 October this year.

“Without a commitment from the Palaszczuk Government to continue funding for this program beyond 2018, next month’s ‘Moo Baa Munch’ event in Toowoomba will be the last one ever held,” he said.

“The SIPP team has also co-ordinated industry tours around Dalby, the Lockyer Valley and the Southern Downs that give high school students direct contact with primary producers and potential employers.  

“In addition, the team had a presence at the Toowoomba Show this year, organised professional development for teachers in Goondiwindi, and co-ordinated a ‘Farmer in the Classroom’ event at Highfields, to cite just a few examples of the types of activities that will no longer go ahead as a result of this State Government funding cut.”

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.

A video of Mr Guerin speaking about the program’s importance to the Toowoomba region, as well as photos from the 2017 Moo Baa Munch event at Downlands College are available via Dropbox at https://bit.ly/2xAZnns

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

*‘Governing from the Regions sets Spring date in Toowoomba’, Premier’s media release, 23 August 2018

Toowoomba students among worst hit by ag education cut

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