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Senator talks education and trade at Bendigo Uni Green Week.

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Kerry Nettle, Senator for New South Wales

30 July 2003

Senator Talks Education and Trade at Bendigo Uni Green Week

Senator Nettle spoke to students and staff about the Greens free education campaign and discussed the impact of the Federal Government's higher education reforms on Bendigo.

"Economically, this campus contributes around $130 million per annum to the Bendigo region. Socially, its impact is just as significant," Senator Nettle said.

"The Greens are steadfastly opposing the government's proposed changes to university funding that threaten this regional vitality.

"The Greens will not stand by and watch Australia returned to a two-tier education system that will see regional universities relegated to a second-class status.

"We are not convinced the government's sweeteners for regional universities are sufficient. They are band-aid measures that will not compensate for the overall impact of the funding cuts the Education Minister has proposed."

Senator Nettle also ran a workshop for students covering the social and environmental impacts of the Australia US Free Trade Agreement currently under negotiation.

"The FTA with the US has the potential to undermine the provision of public services in regional areas," Senator Nettle said.

"The Greens are also sceptical that an agreement which does not have the power to address US farming subsidies can deliver for Australian farmers.

"US companies are targeting Australia's GE labelling laws, seeking to remove consumer choice about the food they eat, and taking away the capacity for Australian farmers to market their GE-free products."

For more information - Jon Edwards 0428 213 146