UA Logo.jpgMedia Release Header.png


Universities will play an indispensable role in Australia’s foreign policy objectives in coming decades, the sector’s peak body says in its submission to the Foreign Policy White Paper

Universities Australia also joins the dots between Australia’s higher education policy settings and our success as a powerhouse exporter of international education.

Issuing a stark warning to policy makers, Universities Australia Chief Executive Belinda Robinson said: “With $3.5 billion in higher education cuts still reflected in the Budget, and global competition for international students intensifying, Australia’s continued success is in the balance."

“Universities in our region are investing heavily in their own systems – China is building a university every week – and countries all over the world are setting ambitious international education targets.” 

“If we want to continue to be in the top three destinations for international students, then our policy, regulatory and funding settings must support that aim,” she said. 

International students bring $21.8 billion into Australia’s economy each year –the nation’s third largest export earner. 

The submission also notes that international research and education ties developed by Australia’s universities are key to forge stronger and deeper diplomatic, economic, trade and security ties. 

“This is about much more than the economic value of international education,” Ms Robinson said.

“We urge Government to broaden its focus and work even more closely with universities to expand those strong links between students and researchers around the world,” she said.

“Those ties build mutual understanding and allow us to maximise the opportunities to advance Australia’s interests and those of the world. That is smart, strategic, forward-looking policy.”

The submission also urges Austrade, like its German and British counterparts, to boost its efforts to promote ‘Brand Australia’ for international education.

It notes that international students and their families contribute $18.2 billion to the nation’s tourism income – more than half of the $34.2 billion that tourism contributes to the Australian economy.

Universities Australia Media Contacts

Misha Schubert
02 6285 8133
Mobile: 0421 612 351

Bella Counihan
Ph: 02 6285 8123
Mobile: 0419 212 219 

For all the latest from and about Australia's universities visit

Follow us on Twitter @uniaus