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Labor's Online University will boost regional education

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Labor's Online University Will Boost Regional Education Martin Ferguson - Shadow Minister for Regional Development

Media Statement - 25 January 2001

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Labor's launch of the University of Australia Online (UAO) will offer significant benefits to people in regional, rural and remote Australia, Shadow Minister for Regional Development, Martin Ferguson, said today.

"It is a priority of Labor that all Australians have access to educational opportunities -wherever they live," Mr Ferguson said.

"Through the University of Australia Online, Labor will work to overcome the barriers facing people who want to gain access to a tertiary education but live too far away.

"Under Labor's new initiatives, students will have the flexibility to study in their own home, at their own pace and at a time that suits them." The UAO, announced by Kim Beazley yesterday, will create 100,000 new online undergraduate places by 2010.

And to make online education attractive, the HECS costs for these courses will be halved.

"Returning to education can be a daunting prospect at the best of times, but it is often the cost that deters people from giving it a go," Mr Ferguson said.

"Labor will also offer a free online university preparation or 'pathways' program for people who have wondered if they have what it takes to succeed at university and want to give it a go.

"While the Howard Government has made it harder for people in regional Australia to participate in the Knowledge Nation, a Beazley Labor Government is committed to educational opportunities for all.

"Australia's geography has always driven us to innovate in distance education. It takes a forward-looking national Government to take up the opportunities new technology presents.

"Opportunities in the new economy are there for the taking, and only Labor can ensure that people in regional, rural and remote Australia share in the benefits," Mr Ferguson said.

Authorised by Geoff Walsh, 19 National Circuit, Barton ACT 2600.