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Green light for JCU’s new vet and agriculture programs.

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B2005/109 - Green light for JCU’s new Vet and Agriculture programs

By passing the Higher Education Legislation Amendment (2005 Budget Measures) Bill 2005, the Senate has tonight cemented the Australian Government’s election commitment to establishing new undergraduate degree programs in vet science and tropical agriculture at the James Cook University in Townsville, Leader of The Nationals in the Senate Ron Boswell said today. Speaking in Parliament, Senator Boswell said the Bill paves the way for the new programs at James Cook University to commence next year, providing funding for 50 new places for each new undergraduate degree program. The 100 new places in 2006 are expected to rise to 274 places by 2009 at a cost of $13.9 million.

“The Australian Government is providing $26 million to James Cook University for veterinary science and tropical agriculture recognising the importance of tropical sciences,” Senator Boswell said.

“Earlier this year the government allocated infrastructure funding of $12 million over two years towards a new veterinary science school at James Cook University’s Townsville campus with a link to the Cairns campus.

“The JCU Veterinary Science School will produce veterinarians specialising in tropical animal diseases and with skills in the prevention and early detection of diseases in livestock,” he said.

“It will be the first such school situated in northern Australia and will help address the shortage of vets, particularly large animal vets, in North Queensland to service the beef and dairy industries.”

“Related building projects include:

· a vet teaching hospital, offices and teaching laboratory on the JCU Douglas campus in Townsville; · a plant growth teaching and research facility (primarily to facilitate teaching and research training in horticulture and agroforestry) on the Cairns campus; and · the establishment of a Veterinary Resource Centre in Malanda on the Atherton Tablelands to facilitate dairy cattle studies, and some beef cattle and equine teaching, for JCU vet students. A covered cattle yard facility will also be built to teach dairy cattle clinical examination and treatment.

“The vet science places will provide opportunities to students, particularly in rural and regional Australia, and ensure that Australia has veterinarians with expertise in tropical animal diseases.

“The tropical agriculture places will give graduates expertise in tropical plants and exposure to vital research in areas such as sugarcane production.

“The new veterinary science school and undergraduate courses will help position James Cook University as a leader in teaching and research in veterinary science and tropical agriculture which will help enhance Australia’s expertise and international reputation in these fields.” ends

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