International students could soon be able to return to South Australia after the state’s Chief Public Health Officer has signed off on a plan to permit students’ entry into the country. However, the new plan still needs the approval of the federal government.
If the plan is approved, students will have to quarantine for two weeks at the Parafield Airport facility in the city’s north upon their return, Erudera.com reports.
The City of Salisbury council told ABC that the airport’s existing facilities would be used to accommodate international students. Under the same plan, CBD medi-hotels will be used to quarantine the returning Australians.
Salisbury Mayor Gillian Aldridge said that it is really important for the community to recognize that the council is doing its utmost by working with the government to ensure the community’s safety.
“That is our number one priority. The main issue is: Is it safe? We don’t want it to get out into our community, and I am being told that will not happen,” Aldridge said.
Whereas, a state government spokesperson said that the Chief Public Health Officer Nicola Spurrier approved the plan on international students’ arrival after concluding that it has met all the protocols and requirements of the Commonwealth.
“International students add so much to South Australia’s multicultural fabric, along with the clear economic benefits for our CBD and our state overall, with every three students leading to the creation of one job,” the spokesperson added.
The spokesperson also emphasized that around 20,000 jobs were supported by international education in 2019, adding that in the same year international education contributed to South Australia’s economy with $2 billion.
In the meantime, the opposition health spokesman Chris Picton considered the plan as “incomprehensible.”
“We have a situation where people are going into hotel quarantine without COVID–19 but are catching it inside hotel quarantine, which is totally unacceptable,” Picton said.
Most recently, higher education institutions in South Australia said they had experienced a 33 percent drop in the number of international enrolments amid pandemic; therefore, institutions required the government to allow international students to return to the country as soon as possible.
Following the plunge in enrolments, the Vice-President and the Pro-Vice-Chancellor of Flinders University, Sebastian Raneskold, said that an “urgent activation” plan on students’ return is necessary.
Last year’s plan on the return of international students was dropped after Canberra decided to give priority to the return of Australians who have been stuck abroad instead.