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ABS revises int’l ed contribution by $1bn

The Australian Bureau of Statistics has revised up international students’ 2018 economic contribution by almost $1 billion in its latest report, but an unexpectedly strong performance from the resources sector has seen education drop to Australia’s fourth largest export.

The value of Australian education is up, but it's export position is down. Photo: M.Fildza Fadzil/UnsplashThe value of Australian education is up, but it's export position is down. Photo: M.Fildza Fadzil/Unsplash

The improvement stems from previously unavailable data on royalties and other education services

“Australians understand the value of this contribution”

The figures, released in early June, see the total economic contribution of international students further surpass its record level to $35.8 billion in 2018, an upgrade of $900 million.

“Not only does international education boost domestic travel, goods and services across our economy — but these students strengthen our links with our region and the world,” said Universities Australia chief executive Catriona Jackson.

“Australians understand the value of this contribution, both economically and to our long-lasting cultural and diplomatic ties.”

The improvement, which stems from previously unavailable December 2018 quarter contributions from royalties and other education services, sees Australia inch closer to overtaking the UK, sitting just less than £400 million behind its northern hemisphere competitor.

While the increase further extends Australia’s record period and represents the largest year-on-year increase at over $5 billion, a strong performance from the country’s liquid natural gas exports has usurped education as the third largest economic contributor.

According to a February report from the Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association, LNG is expected to surge by almost $20 billion in 2018/19, to reach $50.4 billion. Education remains Australia’s largest services export, however.

Australia’s record levels have seen a period of accelerated growth in recent years, registering double-digit percentage improvements across several measures. Whether that rate of growth will continue is unclear, however, after year-to-April data from government agencies showed mixed figures.

The Department of Home Affairs’ figures indicate a flatlining rate of visa grants, while the Department of Education shows commencements exploded by 10% and total enrolments by 11%.

Australia currently hosts 612,800 international students, according to the latest figures from DET.

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