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Aus: sector “clean-up” good for reputation

Government reforms will boost Australia’s reputation worldwide, according to the assistant minister for education, assistant minister for regional development and senator for Queensland.

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The government has also said it will target cross-ownership of agencies and education providers

“[The Nixon Review] has given us all a frank picture of the exploitation of vulnerable people who come to Australia to study,” Anthony Chilsholm said at the ITEC Parliamentary Forum on November 14, adding the government is reacting as a direct response to the report .

The Nixon Review, released in October, sought to identify gaps and “rebuild the integrity” of the Australian visa system. The government has ended a “concurrent visa” loophole and will seek to limit student poaching onshore.

It has also said it will target cross-ownership of agencies and education providers, but it is still unclear how exactly that will work.

“Australia is not alone in facing corruption and exploitative practices in international education. It is happening in all other countries – and their respective governments are moving to act against it. So are we,” Chisholm said this week.

Protecting the integrity of the education sector and rooting out corruption and exploitation is “in everyone’s best interest”, and means international students can come to Australia to study and not be exposed to exploitative practices, he continued.

“Cleaning up the sector is good news for Australia’s global reputation.

“Good news for students who will go home to recommend Australia to friends and family, and good news for the majority of quality providers who want to teach international students and produce graduates who are eligible and capable of taking up skilled occupations in need,” Chisholm said.

The event came days after Queensland premier Annastacia Palaszczuk led an education delegation from the state to meet with Chinese counterparts.

As well as university leaders from Queensland, Griffith, James Cook, Bond and Queensland University of Technology, TAFE Queensland International general manager Russell Mckay joined the trip.

“International students are valuable to both Queensland’s economy and social fabric”

During the discussions, Palaszczuk promoted “our interest in hosting China Scholarship Council students” and the talks demonstrated “a willingness to cooperate further on VET sector partnerships”.

“International students are valuable to both Queensland’s economy and to the social fabric of our state – becoming life-long ambassadors for Queensland,” Palaszczuk said.

“I travelled to China when I was younger and gained so much from the experience. It’s something I hope Chinese students experience when they travel to Queensland.

“Education brings us together and meeting China’s Ministry of Education has allowed us to deepen that valuable connection.”

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