South Australia’s plan to bring international students back to the state, which was signed off by the State’s Chief Public Health Officer earlier this month, has also received approval from the Australian Federal Government, the State Premier Steven Marshall announced in a press release.
According to the press release, South Australia became the first state to have its international student return plan approved by the Federal Government. Under this plan, international students will quarantine at Parafield Airport facilities, Erudera.com reports.
“International education is a significant part of South Australia’s economy, contributing over two billion Australian dollars in 2019, partly spent with our education providers such as schools and universities, and also providing a boost to our retail, hospitality and tourism sectors,” Marshall said.
Furthermore, Marshall pointed out that during 2019, nearly 20,000 jobs were supported by international students, which he said is massive for South Australia. He also noted the plan will not have an impact on returning Australians as “it will be done outside the current caps”, adding that institutions and students will bear flight and quarantine costs.
“The health and safety of South Australians is our number one priority. There is still more work to be done with the Commonwealth and education providers but it’s important to note that Professor Spurrier and her team at SA Health, along with South Australia Police, have been central to the formation of the plan, which meets all the necessary protocols required by the Federal Government,” he said.
Whereas, the Minister for Trade and Investment Stephen Patterson said that industry had been the key to this plan, assuring the South Australian community that expert advice from SA Health has informed the plan, in line with the same guidelines that have made it possible for hundreds of seasonal workers to arrive safely in South Australia.
Universities Australia Chief Executive Catriona Jackson congratulated South Australia on becoming the first state to bring international students back this year. Jackson said that more than 10,000 higher education students are pursuing studies at South Australian institutions from abroad.
“We want to welcome them back as quickly as possible so they can join their Australian classmates on campus. We hope to see more states and territories go down the same path as South Australia in the near future,” she said.
According to her, this decision shows what can be done when health authorities, government, and universities cooperate to ensure the safe return of students without impacting Australians stranded abroad waiting to return to the country.
Most recently, international students studying remotely at Australian universities have united under the hashtag #LetUsBackToAus on social media, demanding the Australian Education Minister, Alan Tudge, to allow them to return to the country and continue in-person learning.