Gunnedah school-leavers may have more local education options if an agriculture college is built in town, but one local leader says it should be part of the Gunnedah TAFE.
Independent candidate Mark Rodda posed the idea at the recent Meet the Candidates event, and said it would give Gunnedah kids more options.
"Kids leave [Gunnedah] if they want to be trained," Mr Rodda said.
"It would enhance the future of farming in Gunnedah and the Liverpool Plains by keeping those kids local."
He said it could be similar to TOCAL College in the Hunter Valley.
"It would keep the agricultural industry alive, because they're doing it tough at the moment," Mr Rodda said.
"We’ve got to give our rural areas the best opportunities moving forward to be sustainable, viable and prosperous."
The only way we are going to keep rural areas sustainable is if they have the services and educational options to keep people interested.Mark Rodda, Independent candidate
Gunnedah Chamber of Commerce's Michael Broekman said the idea was "very much welcomed, but it could be incorporated into the upgrades of the TAFE".
"We’re really trying to encourage people to use TAFE facilities," Mr Broekman said.
"The community needs to fully utilise the education facilities we have now - more bricks and mortar means more maintenance costs and admin costs.
"Having it incorporated would be the most economic way to do it."
Nationals' candidate Kevin Anderson recently announced a $3 million investment for Gunnedah TAFE to expand specialist trade workshops, provide new specialist trade and Information and Communications Technology (ICT) equipment, and refurbish generalist learning spaces.
Mr Anderson also recently announced an extra 70,000 fee-free courses for young job-seekers taking on traineeships, and 30,000 free TAFE places for mature-aged workers, as part of a state-wide plan.
The total number of free courses will be almost 700,000 in the next four years, and will target those in the community who need it most.