Focus on quality not caps: Student Accommodation Council 

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Monday 11 December 2023 


Focus on quality not caps: Student Accommodation Council 

The Student Accommodation Council has warned that the federal government’s Migration Strategy must genuinely focus on raising the quality of international student visas and closing existing loopholes, not just arbitrarily reducing international student numbers. 

The Migration Strategy flags a significant reduction in international student numbers, despite the international education sector being the nation’s top service export and contributing $40 billion to economic output pre-pandemic. 

Property Council Group Executive Policy and Advocacy Matthew Kandelaars said a focus on genuine international student visas was necessary, but a cap on overall numbers should be resisted. 

“International students spend roughly $4,000 per month in our economy, and otherwise attract 300,000 visitors each year who visit them and drive our tourism numbers,” Mr Kandelaars said. 

“A solution to housing international students without having them compete for beds in the broader rental market is hiding in plain sight but needs the support of state and territory governments. 

“State planning and tax systems have either ignored the benefits of purpose-built student accommodation (PBSA) or used it as a cash cow to prop up budgets in massive structural deficit. 

“PBSA plays a crucial role in providing safe, high amenity housing for students who are a vital source of life for our CBDs. 

“The sector ensures a strong pipeline of beds that take nearly 80,000 people each year out of the wider rental market – reducing demand and easing affordability. 

“Instead of streamlining planning process for PBSA projects or recognising its value for our cities, we’ve instead seen foreign investor taxes and increases to council rates that deter investment in high-community benefit housing like PBSA. 

“In a globally competitive environment for the best and brightest, we need to cultivate the brainpower essential for driving Australia’s future prosperity and preserving our status as a destination of choice for international students. 

“Prioritising PBSA, so students are not competing for beds in the general rental market, is critical. States and territories need to urgently realise the advantages of PBSA and plan accordingly.” 


Media contact: Rhys Prka | 0425 113 273 | [email protected]