Gympie MP Tony Perrett fires another salvo at Education Minister Yvette D'Ath over the empty Gympie TAFE building.
Gympie MP Tony Perrett fires another salvo at Education Minister Yvette D'Ath over the empty Gympie TAFE building. Patrick Woods

Gympie MP: Is D'Ath bloody minded or incompetent?

GYMPIE MP Tony Perrett has again slammed the State Government over an empty TAFE building it refuses to give Sunshine Coast University permission to lease in order to expand its Gympie facilities.

Mr Perrett said yesterday the Government was "unable to say” if it had received any advice from TAFE Queensland regarding the Gympie site despite a report on the area now being four months overdue.

He said Attorney-General and Minister for Training and Skills, Yvette D'Ath, could not answer the Parliament about whether TAFE Queensland has advised that it no longer required the empty or unused building at the Cartwright Rd site.

"I asked the minister in a Question on Notice to provide advice on whether TAFE Queensland, or its subsidiary East Coast TAFE, had advised that it no longer requires the building and when the advice was received,” Mr Perrett said.

"I also asked the minister just when the building would be available to lease to the University of the Sunshine Coast.

"The university wants to lease the empty building which sits across the carpark from the USC's Gympie campus so that it can increase the number of courses and enrolments on offer in Gympie.

"The minister could not answer and instead referred once again to the development of a 10 year strategic infrastructure plan.

"That asset management plan of TAFE facilities was due for release in July this year.

"You would have thought that, by now, TAFE would have made up its mind about the building and advised the Government.

"When a report is four months overdue common sense says that the majority of the work on the plan should have already been completed.

"It is pretty hard to accept that TAFE Queensland or East Coast TAFE is keeping the minister in the dark and have not provided any advice about the empty and unused building which has sat at the site for a number of years.

"Otherwise the minister should have called for a briefing as soon as she realised that TAFE Queensland had not provided any advice.

"The only conclusion is that either TAFE Queensland is incompetent or the minister is overwhelmed and incapable of managing the portfolio.

"She is either out of her depth or simply unable to provide timely, prudent and competent administration.

"I have been advised that both the department and the university have done everything that was required to make the lease happen.

"The lease was ready to be signed almost two years ago and it's not as if the Government doesn't already lease buildings and sites.

"The community benefits for Gympie would be enormous in our region which is crying out for increased opportunities for tertiary education.

"However out of sheer bloody-mindedness the minister obstinately lets the building sit empty across the car park from the USC.

"The decision has been sitting on the minister's desk for months and she is refusing to do anything about it.

"How long does it take this minister to make a decision?

"The incompetence is reckless and harming our students.

"The indecision is creating lost opportunities for local students who are not able to attend university because of distance and financial factors, for the high number of unemployed youth who want to gain skills, and for mature-aged students who are trying to upskill but are not able to move away because of work and family commitments,” he said.

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