Changing the proposed location of Mount Gambier’s new $35m technical college could transform the existing TAFE and UniSA precinct into a thriving education hub for the Limestone Coast, according to Mount Gambier MP Troy Bell.
Premier Peter Malinauskas announced plans to build five new technical colleges across regional South Australia before the March State Election, with Mount Gambier one of the nominated sites.
Although welcoming the news, Mr Bell queried Labor’s plan to co-locate the facility at Mount Gambier High School.
“We already have a technical training facility in the Mount Gambier TAFE, which is currently underutilised, so a $35m investment towards updating that site would be transformational,” he said.
“Rather than build an entirely new facility at Mount Gambier High School, we could refit the existing TAFE buildings, which are ideally located next to UniSA and have a centralised training and education centre which has the potential to attract students from across the region and beyond.”
Mr Bell said there could also be major opportunities with the recent announcement for the development of a Forestry Centre for Excellence for Mount Gambier, with co-funding from UniSA.
“With forestry one of our region’s major employers, there will be opportunities for direct pathways for students into the sector, so increasing those partnerships and links between training providers and local employers is vital,” he said.
Mr Bell said he would also be pushing for on-site student accommodation options, similar to those in capital cities.
The college is due to be open for the 2026 school year, however Mr Bell said he would be pushing for the facility to be open earlier, if possible.
Labor’s Country Cabinet is due in Mount Gambier next month and Mr Bell said he would be having these discussions with both the Premier and Minister for Education Blair Boyer.