$1.17 million injection of funding for agriculture campus
BUNDABERG Christian College's planned agricultural campus at Givelda has received State Government funding of $1.17 million, enabling it to set an April start date for building works.
The campus has been hailed as a boost to future youth employment prospects in the region, which has a $1 billion-a-year horticulture industry.
The kickstart funding of $1.17 million will enable the initial phase of the major project to get under way, with the first students expected to be able to start in 2014. The college will offer boarding facilities as well as taking day students.
Bundaberg Christian College director Brent Keune said he welcomed the funding announcement as a "great start" for the college in achieving another education milestone.
"We believe the time is right for us to provide a second campus with a rural focus and have acquired a suitable farming property for the operation of our second campus," he said.
"Our aim is to establish an accredited facility with a rural and agricultural focus while also catering for the core curriculum needs of students initially in years 8-12 and then introducing year seven in 2015 as part of middle school."
The funding sits under the Queensland Government's Capital Assistance Scheme, and provides $600,000 to build facilities including a science lab, administration areas and to buy equipment.
Another $570,000 will be spent on student dorms and amenities and supervisor's accommodation.
The total cost of the project, unveiled last year, has been estimated at $19 million, with the first phase costed at $5.5 million. Federal funding also is being sought by the college, and an announcement is expected shortly.
Member for Burnett Stephen Bennett said it was a great boost to education in the Burnett and Bundaberg regions as well as the agricultural sector.
"There has been no clear investment in the agriculture sector for some time," he said.
"This commitment shows support and confidence in this fruit bowl area."
Mayor Mal Forman said that agribusiness had continued to grow despite the Global Financial Crisis and an investment in training in this area for youth would pay dividends in both the short and long term.
He said it would help the young people of Bundaberg region train and work in their home area.