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Media statement: Go8 statement on changes to international education

May 11, 2024

Quotes attributable to Chief Executive Vicki Thomson

The Group of Eight (Go8), which educates one in three international students who choose to study in Australia strongly supports an international education sector that is underpinned by quality and integrity – anything short of that is unacceptable.

The Go8 supports Government measures to be introduced into Federal Parliament which underscores that intent.

We also note the release of the International Education and Skills Strategic Framework and the consultation process the Government has announced as part of that.

The Education Minister has acknowledged the importance of the sector and the need to ensure quality and sustainability of the sector.

Given that importance, any mix of policy settings must be considered, and nuanced.  If the problems are neither simple nor one-dimensional then the solutions won’t be either. While pressures are building in Sydney and Melbourne, the situation in other parts of Australia look quite different. Adelaide, for example, needs more international students to meet its workforce commitments around strategic projects, such as AUKUS. Consultation will be crucial to ensure we get the settings right.

Our universities are acutely aware of the complex challenges the Australian Government is managing in relation to cost of living pressure, housing affordability and migration intake.

As outlined in the Go8 policy paper, International students and housing and other cost of living pressures,  international student demand for housing is stronger in some inner city areas of Sydney and Melbourne where demand already exceeds supply, which is why Go8 universities and purpose-built student accommodation providers are already investing heavily in affordable student accommodation options.  Our member universities either provide or facilitate access to accommodation that caters for over 83,000 students and we have a substantial forward plan of additional supply across the next decade.

The architecture already exists to manage issues around the volume, pattern and profile of international students and we have recommended the use the compact negotiations – conducted by individual universities with the Department of Education – to develop targeted, nuanced programs and solutions that fit in with the circumstances of each State, Territory, institution and community.

The Framework consultation process will be extremely important as we seek to get the right balance of outcomes for the nation and our international students.

Contact: Vicki Thomson, Group of Eight Chief Executive on +61 438 047 155

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