Tuesday 18 July 2023
Students not to blame for housing crisis – but more can be done to deliver more purpose-built student accommodation
The Student Accommodation Council has expressed concern at the release of the Institute of Public Affairs report which unfairly tries to blame the international student intake for exacerbating rental supply shortages across the country.
Student Accommodation Council Acting Executive Director Adina Cirson said the report does not take into account that 75,500 students live across 200 purpose-built student accommodation developments and are not impacting on rental vacancy rates.
“Blame should not fall squarely at the feet of increased international student numbers, when planning, taxation, building costs, archaic approaches to rental reform and a lack of land supply are all impacting on the supply of housing across the nation,” Ms Cirson said.
“Rather, we should be working on reducing barriers to the supply of at market, rental and affordable housing, including purpose-built student accommodation for both domestic and international students.
“Providing international students with appropriate purpose-built accommodation keeps them from competing in the private rental market.
“We need to understand that the delivery of student accommodation needs to be a priority at every level of government – rather than trying simply cut back on the number of students – which are vital to our service export industry and broader economy,” she said.
Last month the Student Accommodation Council raised concerns the Australian University Accord review into Australia’s Higher Education system is seriously considering capping the intake of international students.
“Any caps on the number of international students would have far reaching consequences,” Ms Cirson said.
”Our November 2022 research found that 16 per cent of students who complete their studies in Australia stay on to work here, critically alleviating workforce shortages and helping to bring vibrancy to our cities.
“In 2019, around 300,000 international tourists came into Australia to visit an international student, contributing approximately $1 billion to the economy.
“Attracting international students is essential for our economy and maintaining our highest-performing service export – tertiary education – which was valued at around $40 billion before the pandemic.
“We will be continuing to advocate at the federal, state/territory and local government levels to ensure our political leaders understand what needs to be done to get more housing for students, and how our sector can help ease market pressures without the need to curb student intake numbers,” she said.