'I couldn't believe this dodgy deal'
JARROD Bleijie says he could not believe the "dodgy" nature of state government dealings with Gympie TAFE.
"I had to come up and see for myself," said the Shadow Minister for Skills and Training.
Mr Bleijie was in Gympie as a guest of MP Tony Perrett, who has been campaigning for the University of the Sunshine Coast to be allowed to lease a disused TAFE building on the same site as the university's Gympie campus in Cartwright Rd.
I heard about tis issue from Tony but I just didn't believe it.
"Now the state government is making a deal with Gympie Regional Council to lease it to them so they can sub-lease the building.
"The government just won't admit they are wrong, but this new deal will mean the building might be leased out to somebody else.
"I just can't believe there is a problem with an empty building, when there is another educational institution 80m away, across the car park, that wants to lease it.
"It's bizarre," he said.
"The government should just get on with it instead of making secret dodgy deals with the council to try to get rid of a political issue," he said.
Mr Bleijie says the problem is not confined to Gympie, however.
"There are problems with TAFE throughout Queensland," he said.
This was reflected in big management personnel changes at the top.
Declining TAFE services were a problem at other campuses, but here it was particularly denying young Gympie people the benefits of the two educational institutions working together.
TAFE courses could provide pathways to university as well as direct employment options," he said.
"Youth unemployment in Wide Bay Burnett is 25.3%, the third highest in Queensland.
"That's why I can't understand it," he said.
Mr Perrett said he had asked questions in parliament about the issue and Deputy Premier Jackie Trad has said Skills and Training Minister Yvette D'Ath is receptive to the idea of TAFE and the university working together.
A council spokeswoman confirmed talks had taken place involving the council as well as TAFE and USC.
"Council has made no formal decision regarding the matter," she said.