Labor must announce new international education strategy

International education and training providers in Victoria are increasingly concerned about the failure of the Andrews Labor Government to address the plight of their industry.

Like many industries across Victoria, this sector has been hit hard by the impact of COVID-19 with international travel restrictions preventing international students from arriving in Victoria to commence or return to their studies.

In 2018 there were more than 227,000 international students in Victoria, each taking advantage of the opportunity to benefit from our world-class education system. This sector supports more than 79,000 jobs and earned almost $12 billion in export income for Victoria in 2018.

The Andrews Labor Government has abandoned international education across Victoria by allowing the state’s International Education Advisory Council to be disbanded and the International Education Strategy to lapse.

This strategy is critical to the return of international students to Victoria. Without such a plan, Victorian education and training providers run the risk of missing out on international students next year, and the social and economic benefits of greater cultural exchange.

Prior to the pandemic, Victoria hosted around one-third of international students who have chosen to study and train in Australia. Victoria, unlike other states, has no plan in place for the return of these international students. South Australia and the Northern Territory are already prepared to fly small numbers of overseas students to Australia.

The Andrews Labor Government must act now to ensure there is a strategy in place for the return of international students as so many Victorian jobs and our economy depend on it.

The Liberal Nationals’ Back to Work Plan has called on the State Government to develop a recommencement plan for international students, both secondary and tertiary.

Comments attributable to Shadow Minister for Training and Higher Education, Gordon Rich-Phillips:

“As usual under Labor, Victoria is lagging behind the rest of Australia when it comes to preparedness.

“The Andrews Labor Government needs to adopt the Liberal Nationals’ positive plan for Victoria to get universities back to work and prepare for the return of international education and training which is vital to our economy.”

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