Michael R Williams
DESIRES to keep a fully utilised Longreach Pastoral College running have been somewhat quashed after the State Government announced it would no longer be funding the feasibility study and business case through the Remote Area Planning and Development Board (RAPAD).
RAPAD had originally been approached by the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries to conduct said actions, with RAPAD partially occupying the college over the past three years.
RAPAD CEO David Arnold said the organisation acted as a caretaker – holding the fort – while waiting for the State Government to consider RAPAD’s solicited business case.
“It took them 18 months to consider that, but as of just after the state budget, they advised us that they won’’t fund the business case,” he said.
“Our license was planned to expire at the end of the year anyway; they have offered a short-term extension until June 30 next year, but no extensions after that.
“So, we will consider our position then [RAPAD’s relationship to the Pastoral College].”
Mr Arnold said the reason given by the Government was that the business case was too expensive.
“The business case was predicated on a number of funds being injected into the investment over a five-year period,” he said.
“They advised they weren’t prepared to fund that.”
After three years of work, Mr Arnold said he was content with the State Government finally giving an answer to the future of the site.
“So now we know where they stand,” he said.
“It’s always been their asset to deal with.”
Mr Arnold said several commercial, private, and governmental organisations had been enquiring about the use of the Pastoral College, implying its value and possible value to the community.
“We validated that, we have Telstra out there as a subtenant, we have had numerous usages in the dormitories for visiting bus lines,” he said.
“We’ve had people inquire with us about the land and irrigation; we’ve had people inquire about running horse upskilling operations, but that wasn’t in our license to occupy, so it wasn’t in our say.”
The future of the site is still unknown.