Its report warns that the NSW and Victoria governments could be putting at risk an industry that is already on the downturn. “With both NSW and Victoria suffering decreases of AUS$1 billion each in education export revenue in 2010–11, this is not the time to discourage prospective students from enjoying the many benefits of studying in these states,” said ACPET CEO, Claire Field.
The association’s survey revealed that 90% of students would not recommend the states to family or friends because the travel concessions are not available to them.
“The average weekly budget for an international student is only AUS$346 to cover rent, food, transport, entertainment and utilities,” said Field. “With a travel concession, international students could save up to AUS$30 per week or, in other words, a saving of up to 33% of their disposable income after rent.”
NSW and Victoria are the only two remaining state governments to exclude international students from receiving student transport concession benefits. Despite recommendations from inquiries into the matter, both governments have determined the costs “unviable”.
The NSW government estimates the international study industry brings in AUS$5.8bn to the state every year. The NSW Treasury says allowing the concessions could cost anywhere from AUS$23.5 million to AUS$91 million annually.
“ACPET calls on both the NSW and Victorian governments to do some serious modelling of the costs of extending transport concessions to all students, regardless of their origin,” stated Field. “Such modelling should include the revenue lost when students choose alternative study destinations due to the added burden of full transport fares.”