MP celebrates Gympie uni win, congratulates USC patience
EXCLUDED from the big Gympie USC announcement yesterday but nonetheless triumphant, Gympie MP Tony Perrett welcomed the news that the USC had "finally been able to secure a lease of the empty and unused TAFE building”.
"It's about time,” Mr Perrett said. "I have been fighting for this ever since I was elected in 2015.
"It is unfortunate that we are already into the fifth year of pushing for the Government to simply sign a lease. That is a half a decade.
"When I raised this issue again last month the Minister had until the end of March to give a clear and unequivocal answer to the Parliament as to whether a lease has been signed. The writing was clearly on the wall and it was time to stop stonewalling and give us an answer.
"This has been through two ministers and even under this new minister it has been more than 12 months since she promised a lease. The minister had to be flushed out because the last thing she wanted was to come back to the Parliament and say nothing has been done.
"Just how long does it take to prepare and sign a lease for an empty building?
"A lease was ready for signing just before the change of Government in January 2015.
"Since then it has just come up with excuse after excuse to do nothing.
"It has been four years of lost opportunities for hundreds of school leavers and mature aged students who have missed out.
"If you had started studying in 2015 you would have finished and graduated by now.
"I understand the advantages of studying locally and securing a job in this region as my daughter Steph was able to study locally at the USC, and is now able to work and stay in Gympie.
"It is appalling that the Government wilfully and callously sat on its hands about this matter for the past four years.
"It never made sense and it is frustrating that it has taken this long.
"This is an empty building that no one wants, not even TAFE, while a willing tenant is waiting to gain access so that it can increase its presence in Gympie.
"We have had news about closures of workplaces here in Gympie and here is a business that the Government has hindered all the way in trying to expand.
"I congratulate the Vice Chancellor, Greg Hill, for his patience and perseverance and not letting go with the idea of expanding in Gympie.
"I am glad that this matter will be put to rest.
"The amount of time wasted, the lost opportunities, treated us with contempt.
"It is a win for Gympie, our residents and students, and the Gympie Times, who have overwhelmingly been supportive of the USC.”