RUMOURS have been running rife about the possible closure of Cannonvale TAFE since the State Government issued its Vocational Education Training (VET) report, which recommends closing 38 of the 82 TAFE campuses across Queensland.
Whitsunday MP Jason Costigan said no decisions had yet been made on which campuses would be closed but stressed his position on the Cannonvale's Barrier Reef Institute of TAFE was clear.
"If there were to be any suggestion of this particular campus being downgraded or worse, my message to the minister would be quite simple - hands off," Mr Costigan said.
"It's an award-winning campus and I took great delight in seeing it recognised accordingly at our recent tourism awards," he said.
Federal politicians have now also weighed into the debate, with both Dawson MP George Christensen and Labor candidate Bronwyn Taha stating their concerns.
Ms Taha says the Cannonvale campus is simply too important to lose. "It will be nothing short of betrayal to their constituents if the Member for Whitsunday and the Member for Dawson don't get on the phone to the Minister for Education and insist that the swing of Newman's axe won't finish off our local TAFE next month," she said.
Mr Christensen says he has already written to the minister, suggesting that the Cannonvale campus should be not only retained but expanded upon as a "centre of excellence".
"It has strong links with both the tourism and hospitality sectors and tourism is one of the four pillars that the Newman Government has established for getting Queensland back on track," he said.
Meanwhile Cannonvale TAFE's Institute Director Robert McAulay said the recent loss of two administrative positions was not due to State Government funding cuts.
"In order to best serve the wider community, the Barrier Reef Institute of TAFE has to adjust its staffing levels to match student enrolment," he said.