Member for Warren-Blackwood, Terry Redman has expressed his dismay that the McGowan Government has abolished the Agricultural Education Directorate in the Department of Education’s central office.
“This move is a major blow to secondary agricultural education in this state,” Mr Redman said.
Western Australia has five highly regarded Colleges of Agriculture based in Denmark, Harvey, Narrogin, Cunderdin and Morawa. These colleges have 619 enrolled students most of whom board at the facilities and undertake both academic and farm based activities. These colleges are complemented by numerous agricultural wings at various high schools around the state.
Mr Redman said that up until now there has been a dedicated Directorate within the Department of Education responsible for central coordination, management of resources, adherence to the agricultural education framework and alignment with state agricultural education objectives.
“The strength of this coordinated approach is reflected in the solid financial management and curriculum delivery of the Colleges of Agriculture and the strong links to industry and relevant educational outcomes.
In acknowledgement of the agricultural sector being worth $9 billion to the WA economy, the Liberal-National government invested significantly in agricultural education, including a new college at Harvey, significant upgrades to Narrogin and Cunderdin colleges, and investment in pastoral care initiatives.
Agriculture is extremely important to WA’s future economy and we need trained young people to expand the industry through innovative sustainable practices, use of technology, introduction of new crops and produce, and with the skills to negotiate new markets.
“The abolition of the Agricultural Education Directorate by the McGowan Labor government is likely to result in lack of coordination and a disjointed approach to the education and training needs of the agricultural sector in WA,” Mr Redman said.
“I fail to see any positives in this stance and call on the Minister to assess the importance of the agricultural sector to WA, and then reverse her decision to abolish the Agricultural Education Directorate.”