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Sydney Uni reputation damaged by coal mine funding

Media Release
Lee Rhiannon 19 Aug 2014

Sydney University's $1 million investment in the controversial Whitehaven coalmine will mean enormous damage for the institution's reputation unless they move quickly to withdraw the investment and apologise to impacted Aboriginal elders and locals, the Greens have warned.

Greens higher education spokesperson Senator Lee Rhiannon said, "Sydney University Vice Chancellor Michael Spence has a responsibility to immediately withdraw the investment in Whitehaven to end support for this destructive coalmine and help protect the name of one of Australia's leading education centres.

"The University has broken its own Investment Policy, which requires funds to be consistent with its environmental, social, and corporate governance principles.

"I urge the VC to show good faith for this appalling lack of judgement by making a significant contribution to the local Gomeroi community.

"Whitehaven is becoming infamous across Australia for its aggressive push to fast track a massive coalmine at Maules Creek in northern NSW.

"I have visited this region on a number of occasions and each time I see more destruction of the endangered native forest, rich farming land and local Aboriginal heritage sites.

"VC Spence cannot justify Sydney University providing such as massive outlay for Whitehaven.

"Senior management needs to take responsibility for this failure.

"The Vice Chancellor can redeem the situation but he needs to act immediately," Senator Rhiannon said.

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