'Sheer bloody-mindedness by the Labor government'
QUEENSLAND opposition leader Tim Nicholls has pointed his finger squarely at the state's Labor government for playing politics with Gympie's education.
The University of the Sunshine Coast has been working to occupy an unused building at its Gympie campus which is part of the adjoining TAFE, formerly a library.
During the tour of the Cartwright Rd campus yesterday, Mr Nicholls said the former Liberal government, under Campbell Newman, was in advanced talks to transfer ownership of the building from TAFE to USC.
When the incumbent Labor government won the recent election, the plan was scrapped.
"I don't think there's any other excuse but Labor playing politics,” Mr Nicholls said.
"This is just really sheer bloody-mindedness by the Labor government.
"We've had a deal that was almost done under the LNP government that has gone nowhere under Labor for the last two years.
"We know education is an enabler for jobs, for people in the regions.
"You've got to question why Labor would simply say no to doing a simple lease with the university so that the university can be used and more kids, more people, can get into education, particularly tertiary education.”
Gympie MP Tony Perrett echoed his colleague.
"It defies all logical reason,” Mr Perrett said.
"It (education) brings confidence, locally, to business and the community.”
After the tour of the campus, Mr Nicholls savaged Labor's stalling of the building deal.
"I believe it is. They've done nothing. It's a complete and utter mystery as why it hasn't been utilised.
"Everyone wants to be able to say there's an opportunity here.
"This area is only going to continue to grow.
"It's either incompetence or playing politics.”
A spokesperson for Attorney-General and Training and Skills Minister Yvette D'Ath was equally scathing of Mr Nicholls.
"It is astounding that the man making these comments is the same man who was Treasurer when the former LNP government gutted the TAFE system, sacked staff and ultimately would have privatised the sector,” he said.
There have been a number of proposals put forward for future use of the TAFE facilities at Gympie.
”As previously stated, the Palaszczuk Government is considering all publicly owned training facilities and proposals for future use as part of the development of a 10 year Strategic Infrastructure Plan.”