Under the 1950s Colombo Plan, Australia has sponsored thousands of Asian students to study in Australian tertiary institutions and return home to build physical, government and social infrastructure. In Parliament I called on the NSW Government to ensure that international students in Australia are safe, learn about us and our culture and finish their studies with a positive experience.
Student representatives and international education reviews supported better orientation; improved safety; affordable accommodation with enforced tenancy rights; public transport concessions and access to health services.
International students say they feel like second-class citizens, particularly when they face accommodation rip-offs and have to pay full public transport fares unlike other students.
NSW could run Homeshare schemes for low cost home-style accommodation, as in Victoria and New Zealand. The Government should work with education providers to include a fee which entitles all students to unlimited public transport travel, as is the case in Canada.
Competition is increasing and we must address students' needs if we are to continue to be a destination of choice for overseas study.
The three major inner-city universities have over 30,000 international students and over 4,000 international students are enrolled in post-secondary colleges and TAFE Sydney Institute.
- To view my speech in Parliament, click HERE.