NSW Labor has called on the Berejiklian Government to step up and offer assistance to stranded university students across New South Wales.
Thousands of international students studying at universities and colleges across our state are stranded in Australia with little help, worried about their future,” said Clayton Barr, Shadow Minister for Tertiary Education.
“Despite the significant economic contribution international students make to our economy, the Berejiklian Government has completely abandoned these students in a time of crisis.”
“Many students can’t get home, have lost ongoing casual employment in the hospitality and retail sector, and have families at home facing their own financial struggles. This has left many stranded students worried about how they’ll pay rent and do their weekly groceries.”
“New South Wales has an excellent international reputation as a safe and supportive place for international students to study. We must make sure we are true to our reputation by supporting these students in good times and bad.”
International education contributes $39 billion in export income each year to the national economy, with the sector estimating more than 335,000 international students were in the country at the beginning of April.
Universities have been flooded with requests for hardship funding from these students.
State Governments in Queensland, Western Australia, Tasmania and South Australia have announced assistance packages to help stranded students, including access to free counselling services, care packages, food and living assistance including meal delivery, and assistance with laptop and technology required for online classes.
These programs complement federal government funding guarantees of $18 billion and $100 million in regulatory fee relief for the tertiary education sector.
“These students are facing huge challenges in their formative years – loss of income, being isolated in a foreign country away from friends and family, and potentially being unable to return home for some time,” said Mr Barr.
“This is a humanitarian matter and the Berejiklian Government must do everything it can to help these students who are stranded here through no fault of their own.”
“We simply cannot abandon these students – the Berejiklian Government must be doing more to help our international student community.”