Universities including Griffith stand to lose hundreds of millions if a new policy goes ahead. Photo by Richard Gosling
Universities including Griffith stand to lose hundreds of millions if a new policy goes ahead. Photo by Richard Gosling

How Coalition policy could cost $1.5b a year

THE GOLD Coast could lose $1.5 billion annually from international student revenue if a new Federal Government policy goes ahead.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison yesterday announced international students could be forced to study at regional universities to put an end to overcrowding in major cities.

Mayor Tom Tate urged the government to reconsider the Gold Coast as one of the participating regions, considering the $10.8 million investment the city has made to attracting international learners.

PM Scott Morrison wants to move international students to the bush. Picture: Ray Strange
PM Scott Morrison wants to move international students to the bush. Picture: Ray Strange

"I call on the Federal Government to call on what regions are in and out," he said.

"We want to be a part of this deal - it's as simple as that.

"I understand the Federal Government doesn't define the Gold Coast as a region when it comes to other criteria but I want them to reconsider.

"We are investing $10.8 million over four years to drive greater tertiary student numbers for our city, and we are regularly score as No. 1 in Australia for student experience.

GC Mayor Tom Tate is calling for the government to clarify what will be considered regional. Pics Adam Head
GC Mayor Tom Tate is calling for the government to clarify what will be considered regional. Pics Adam Head

"We have the best infrastructure to manage more students including world-class universities and colleges, reliable public transport including light rail, a dedicated student hub, and two international airports within 90km of each other.

"We are also a safe city with 550 CCTV cameras, purpose built student accommodation and fantastic support networks. If any city deserves consideration, it's us."

Cr Tate said the prospect of losing international students was too terrifying to comment on.

Study Gold Coast CEO Shannon Willoughby said the city is open to talks with the government.
Study Gold Coast CEO Shannon Willoughby said the city is open to talks with the government.

The Gold Coast currently has 29,000 international students, with a plan to accommodate 35,000 by 2024.

Study Gold Coast CEO Shannon Willoughby said the first step would be to clarify whether or not the Gold Coast is considered a regional city.

"We'd welcome the discussion that second-tier cities like the Gold Coast are considered as part of this regionalisation plan," she said.

"International education is Australia's third-largest export, and the Gold Coast wants to increase market share in this space.

"We have invested in high quality education, we are affordable compared to some of the bigger cities and it's a safe, cleaning, welcoming city."

South African international student Storm Jonas agreed, saying if the Gold Coast wasn't available as an option to study in Australia, there is a high likelihood he wouldn't come to the country at all.

"Overseas everyone dreams of coming to the Gold Coast," he said.

"The beaches, the weather, the security - it's like a paradise to people who don't like here."



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