Published on Webdiary - Founded and Inspired by Margo Kingston (/cms)

Fare you go – granting travel concessions benefits both students and the State Government

By Yichen Zhu
Created 04/05/2009 - 18:55

Fare you go – granting travel concessions benefits both students and the State Government
by Yichen Zhu
It’s strange that just when Australia’s education system is crying out for more full-fee paying international students, the NSW government is continuously discriminating against them. While travel concession is generally provided to students, I am not getting it - because I am an international student. This means I’m paying twice more each week to get to and from uni.

In March 2006, SUPRA [1] – the postgraduate representative association at the University of Sydney – launched a campaign against the State Government and won in the court decision. The NSW Administrative Decisions Tribunal ruled that the NSW Government has been overly charged international students on public transport fares by 50%. However, as a reaction to the decision, the State Government changed the law, which makes it virtually impossible for me to get travel concessions now.

Now, SUPRA is holding a new campaign that continues to seek transport concessions for us. Obviously, we are not giving it up until we get it. And actually, it can benefit both us and the government.

Jenny Leong, the president of SUPRA, said, “The State Government should not neglect the economical contribution of international students to the State and refuse to grant them concessions based on this reason.”

International students’ contribution to the Australian economy [2] cannot be underestimated. They bring an estimated $1.2 billion into NSW economy per year through their living expenses. Yet the Government claims there is no money to provide them travel concessions.

However, Jenny Leong explained that the total cost of providing half-fare concession for all international students in NSW is about $11 million annually, which is a relatively much lower amount compared to their contribution.

“It’s not really too much to ask for.”

Clearly, the conduct of the State Government in response to the ADT’s decision [3] of changing the laws has had negative impacts on its reputation.

Lynn Chiang, an initiator of this campaign, said that “Now there is a decreasing trend of NSW’s economy. Attracting more students to study here can contribute more revenue.”

“Our previous campaign received a lot of responses from oversea students in regards to the Government’s reaction. They are deeply disappointed about its newly changed law.” said Chiang.

According to the immigration law, International students can only work limited hours every week, and we also pay tax to the Government just like locals. There are large amount of international students who come from developing countries and not wealthy. Travelling in Sydney is very expensive for us.

Many students from my country are facing financial hardship here. Especially those who are sponsored by scholarships-they are struggling because there are certain limitations on work commitments for full-time students. They are in an even harder financial position compared with local students.

Leong claimed that the number of international students here appears to be falling in recent years. She said, “I think it is the time for the State Government to take action in order to remain competitive and attractive in the Australian and the global education market”.

“After all, it benefits both international students and the Government considering their financial injection.”

Source URL: