A way to build Brand Australia

Austrade’s spend on marketing education offshore tops out at $8m – including staff costs

Which did not strike some at a hearing of the joint parliamentary committee inquiring into international education and tourism as a bunch to build “Brand Australia.”

So where could more national brand bucks come from? “Government is not going to go and borrow tens of millions of dollars more and put it on the national debt for a sector where the providers get tens of billions of dollars of revenue,” committee member Julian Hill (Labor-Vic) said.

But, he asked, would not providers contribute to a collective effort? “They get a seat at the governance table so they can start bossing Austrade around a bit and having some skin in the game.”

To which Felix Pirie, from Independent Tertiary Education Council Australia mentioned there was a way to do the very thing, model for such, a levy, modelled on that which funds the Commonwealth Register of Institutions and Courses for Overseas Students.

To which Mr Hill responded, “The proposition for a marketing levy … has floated around for ages, and everyone whispers it in hushed tones—but let’s have the honest conversation—everyone can agree that it’s probably a sensible thing, but the fight would be over the formula.”

Not to mention what sort of brand to build with it – surf and kangaroos or scientists in lab, are alternatives choice that got a mention.