The TAFE Queensland East Coast Tewantin Campus is closed.
The TAFE Queensland East Coast Tewantin Campus is closed. Warren Lynam

TAFE that cost millions worth 'peanuts'

THE Noosa Tewantin TAFE is the campus that Noosa MP Glen Elmes refers to as "the basket weaving TAFE”.

A TAFE that was originally started to host a variety of arts courses, hospitality training courses and other TAFE courses now lies dirty, vandalised and forgotten.

The TAFE was valued at more $17 million at the end of business on November 30, 2015.

Now however the campus has been valued at just $3.5 million.

Mr Elmes said the reason the government he was part of decided to shut the campus was because it wasn't paying its way.

Two and half years later and nothing has changed.

"They made it very clear to me the only way they would go to that space, they would go back there, would be to rent some space,” Mr Elmes said.

"If it was such a great facility the government has had two years to open it but they haven't.

"I have had two or three face to face meetings with Yvette D'Ath and I've had a couple of meetings with her chief of staff.

"I even got to the stage where I was sitting in the speakers chair and Yvette had carriage of the bill... I wrote a note out, 'dear Yvette do something with my TAFE and I'll join the Labor Party'.

"Whatever it's possible to get them to do something with those buildings I have done.”

Back when Noel Playford was the mayor, the Noosa Council put in a $1.8 million offer to buy the campus.

Mr Elmes tried to hurry the government up in the lead-up to the council election, but was unsuccessful.

"I went to Yvette and I said 'look you have got to understand they (the council) are prepared to pay $1.8 million but the mayor is retiring and deputy mayor is retiring so you have at least two vacancies, who knows who's going to be mayor or deputy, who knows how many other councillors will be off and someone else on',” Mr Elmes said.

"So you can't guarantee the offer will still be on the table.”

It was then Mr Elmes found out the government was looking at getting $3.6 million for the building and that the council's offer was not enough.

In a letter Glen Elmes sent to the Sunshine Coast Daily, he raised questions about just where the TAFE assets had gone.

"When the assets were transferred there were $17.5 million in TAFE assets transferred to the Attorney General's department statewide so there is another 14-odd million sitting somewhere in the state going through that, sitting there rotting away,” he said.

"It's gone from what could have been a really unique opportunity for Noosa into a scandal for the state that they would let a state- owned asset degrade like that.”

The Labor Government put in 80 reviews when they took over and the Noosa Tewantin TAFE campus was one of them. Mr Elmes believes the review was in some ways a way of putting off for as long possible having to make a decision.

He also believes the government is afraid to sell or lease an asset after the last election was fought on the basis of asset sales and asset leasing. The problem is the longer it sits, the less it will be worth.

The question remains why a once state-of-the-art building is now a vacant shell lying dormant.

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