THE Queensland Resources Council (QRC) has backed a call from AgForce to keep the Queensland Agricultural Training Colleges at Longreach and Emerald running.
QRC chief executive Ian Macfarlane said strong commodity prices, which are delivering record returns through existing royalty taxes, meant the Palaszczuk Government could invest in a plan to ensure the long-term future of the colleges.
“Agriculture and mining are our state’s two primary industries. Each sector plays an important role in Queensland’s economy and its character,” Mr Macfarlane said.
“We work hand-in-hand with the agriculture sector through shared access to land and shared returns to landholders. Returns from the resources sector help sustain rural and regional communities when times are tough, including during the recent drought.
“Resources royalty taxes are forecast to contribute $4.45 billion to the State’s budget this year. This is the return on resources investment that benefits all Queenslanders, whether it’s through building roads and hospitals, paying the wages of teachers and nurses, or investing in rural education and infrastructure.
“Given strong commodity prices and global demand, we expect that return on resources will be revised up before Christmas. Those extra calculations are currently underway.
“Even stronger returns from resources investment provide the Queensland Government with more options for the future of these agricultural colleges. It could also help fund a transition period to the industry ownership advocated by AgForce. This would mean the colleges could stay open beyond the end of 2019.
“A strong agricultural skills base helps strengthen rural communities, which in turn benefits the entire regional economy including sectors like resources, small business and tourism.
“Investments in agriculture, just like investments in resources, benefit all Queenslanders and help put our state on a strong footing for the future.”