WA’s international education sector part of the solution

Growing WA’s international education sector and student accommodation was the focus of the Property Council’s June industry breakfast in Perth. 

Speaking at the WA Property Council’s industry breakfast, Rod Jones, Chair of Study Perth said “International education is our largest service export, much larger than tourism and is Australia’s third largest export after iron ore and coal. International education earnings are expected to be 32 billion dollars this year,

“Over the past few years there has been double digit growth rates of international student's year on year. In order to grow the international student population onshore it is vital that we don’t become complacent.

“Students will all need safe and affordable housing, opportunities for meaningful work and work experience and most importantly a community that accepts and welcomes their contribution.

“A collaborative approach to capture these opportunities from all levels of Government and sector has been evident in recent years and is a very positive step, however much more long-term planning and investment is needed.”

When asked whether the value of international education is widely understood by senior business, political leaders and the property sector, panellist Gaye McMath, Deputy Chair of Commissioners at the City of Perth responded, “In WA the private sector has responded very well to the investment opportunities available once they were broadly known.

“However, I think there is so much more to do to ensure there is understanding across other sectors and levels of Government to understand the vibrancy and economic benefits of the international education sector.

“A great deal needs be done to better articulate how important international education is, specifically to Western Australia.”

Panellist Conal Newland, Head of Savills Student Accommodation Unit in Australia said, “What we have seen across Australia over the past 5-6 years is a big catch up in terms of the supply of accommodation.

“I think there has been a big understanding from a number of global institutional players that there is a really big untapped demand for high quality, purpose-built accommodation and that will inevitably support the success of the universities.

The Property Council will work with members and stakeholders of WA’s higher education sector to help grow WA’s share of the Australian foreign student population.