GLADYS BEREJIKLIAN BACKS AWAY FROM INTL STUDENT PLAN: “WE’RE NOT IN A POSITION TO ANNOUNCE ANYTHING”
Labor has accused Gladys Berejiklian of walking away from her international students “plan”, just hours after reports this morning said she had worked with all levels of government and outlined a plan to fast track the return of foreign students to NSW.
Despite being directly quoted in media reports, Ms Berejiklian used a press conference to walk back her plan, saying: “So- so the plan- can I just say- the plan- the plans are still in the formative stage, we’re not in a position to announce anything… So can I please stress these are just early developments of the plan.”
Labor Shadow Minister for Trade and Investment Mick Veitch said:
“Our international education sector is worth $13.9 billion to our State’s economy, supporting close to 100,000 local jobs This so-called plan is nothing more than a thought bubble, and it shows Gladys Berejiklian either doesn’t understand the problem, or she doesn’t take it seriously.
“The real problem in NSW is there are thousands of international students stranded in NSW right now. They can’t get home, they can’t work, they can’t pay their bills and they can’t buy food.
“But unlike the rest of the country, NSW is the only state or territory not supporting these students. This will damage our international reputation as a good place to study, and it will reduce the number of international students who visit Australia in the future.”
NSW Labor first called for support for international students three weeks ago, calling for the Berejiklian Government to:
- Follow Victoria’s lead: provide a $45 million package to fund survival grants of up to $1,100 for international students experiencing hardship, possibly with co-contribution from universities.
- Target a portion of the $1 billion ‘Working for NSW’ fund to provide jobs for people who have no access or eligibility to other government support programs
- Advocate in National Cabinet for the inclusion of temporary visa workers, including international students, to be included in the JobKeeper program.
- Call on other universities to follow Western Sydney University’s lead and offer international students a 10 per cent fee rebate as a cash injection.
Labor Shadow Minister for Tertiary Education Clayton Barr said:
“If NSW ever hopes to attract international students again, we need to make the smart economic decision to support the international students stranded here, and stop the damage Gladys Berejiklian is doing to our State’s international reputation.”
“NSW should be working hard to become the best place in the world to study, in both the good times and bad times. If we prove that we can look after students during these difficult times, then future students will be lining up to come here.”
The international student sector supports close to 100,000 jobs in NSW and 250,000 jobs across Australia, contributing around $37.6 billion to the national economy. Of this, $13.9 billion went to NSW during the 2018-19 financial year.
THURSDAY, 21 MAY 2020