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Plan for Return of International Students a Welcome First Step

The Property Council of Australia has welcomed the announcement of the Victorian Government’s Student Arrivals Plan which will see international students safely and gradually returned to Victoria’s world-renowned centres of education.

Victorian Executive Director Danni Hunter said: “The Property Council has advocated for the return of international students as soon as it’s safe to do so and the Government’s announcement is an important first step for Victoria’s education sector and the wider economy.”

It comes as research conducted for the Property Council shows that a 12-month delay in reopening national borders for international travel could cost the Australian economy $226.2 billion and 1.39 million jobs. In Victoria, this translates as a loss of $54.3 billion in economic activity and over 375,000 fewer FTE jobs between now and 2030.

The property sector will be disproportionately hard-hit by the projected loss to Victoria’s economy. Contributing 13.8% of GSP and employing 11 percent of workers across the state, our sector can expect to expect to see a commensurate $7.4 billion slump in economic activity, and 41,250 fewer new jobs.

Ms Hunter said: “Another year of hard border closures in the education market would have seen Australia’s international student intake remain below 50% of pre-covid projections right up until the end of 2024. This hits hardest in Victoria  where almost a third of Australia’s international students live, work, study, and contribute around $11.25 billion to the broader economy.

“Our research shows that Victoria consistently ranks as the top destination for both skilled migrants, and for international students, many of whom choose to call Melbourne home once their studies are completed. Re-opening Australia’s borders will re-invigorate Victoria’s population growth, and in doing so, pave the way for strong and sustainable demand in the property sector – delivering more dwellings and greater housing affordability across Victoria.

“With an average vacancy rate of almost 10% across the precincts adjacent to our places of higher learning, we have both the space – and the economic imperative – to get international students back onto our local campuses and back into our vacant dwellings and once-thriving centres of economic activity.”