Oz unis prepare for 2000

December 24, 1999

MELBOURNE

Despite taking every precaution, Australian universities are still worried by what might happen at midnight on December 31.

One institution has banned staff and students from its campuses until January 4, others have arranged for emergency generators and stocked up their water supplies, and many have been enrolling students for the next semester, which does not start until the end of February. At Flinders University a computer has already printed student identification cards with an expiry date of February 28, 1910.

The University of Newcastle has distributed enrolment "survival packs" to foreign students and annual summer school classes have been postponed.

The Northern Territory University in Darwin has had considerable experience of cyclones and fierce electrical storms, but has still done contingency planning.

The universities say the biggest dangers they face are from outside utilities and telephone networks.

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