29 October, 2012Universities Australia congratulates the NSW Government on their decision to introduce public transport concessions for international students in their state.
"This welcome decision is recognition by the NSW Government of the enormous contribution international students make to the state," said Belinda Robinson, Chief Executive of Universities Australia.
"International students contribute significant economic benefits to Australia, with each international student spending an average of $38,000 in this country on goods, services and fees.
"The value of international students extends far beyond the significant economic contribution they make through tuition fees, living expenses and GST payments.
"International students form an invaluable part of Australia's multicultural backdrop, framing our nation as a booming cultural hub and enriching the lives of fellow students and the wider community.
"They are also playing a pivotal role in increasing our engagement with Asia during this, the Asian Century.
"Of the around 171,000 international students currently enrolled in NSW, at least 110,000 (around 65 per cent) come from Asian countries.
"International students are helping Australia forge valuable links with their home countries, providing a cross-cultural dialogue with domestic students and sustaining ongoing relationships with Australia post-study."
Ms Robinson said that today's decision, long advocated by Universities Australia, is not just welcome on the grounds of fairness and equity, but also as an important measure to enhance international student safety.
"Cheaper travel will assist international students in finding suitable and affordable accommodation, as well as increasing their work options and opportunities," Ms Robinson said.
"This is an important measure that cannot afford to be delayed and we await details of its implementation and start date."
Ms Robinson said that Victoria now stands alone as the only state not to recognise the economic, cultural and social value of our international students by providing travel concessions.
"Hopefully NSW's decision will help persuade their Victorian counterparts to join the rest of the country in doing not only the right thing by international students, but what is smart for their state's competitiveness," Ms Robinson concluded.