South Australia requests take-off clearance to bring international students back


 The Marshall Government has formally requested Commonwealth endorsement of a plan for international students to enter South Australia

Premier Steven Marshall wrote to federal education minister Alan Tudge Friday, seeking endorsement of a return to SA plan for 160 students, who would quarantine at the Air Training School at Parafield Airport, in Adelaide’s north.

The proposal follows the Northern Territory approach, where Charles Darwin U students quarantine at the Howard Springs facility, outside Darwin.

Phil Honeywood, from the International Education Association of Australia, welcomed the SA initiative, saying the state government and industry organisations, “are to be congratulated for doing the hard yards to finally gain health and police sign off. Only nine months out from a state election this is also a politically brave move by the Marshall Government.

“Clearly, on a similar basis to the NT’s Howard Springs facility, Adelaide’s Parafield Air Training School offers air flow and discrete arrival containment attributes that hotel based quarantine cannot guarantee.

“The ball is now very much in the Federal Government’s court to approve for this comprehensive student return plan.” Mr Honeywood said.

Australia, after pursuing an original containment strategy and then moving to an eradication objective has failed to convert them into first mover advantage for students and while it remains firm on border closures it continues to lose ground to key competitors when it comes to welcoming students back. Calls from business, tourism and education industries are growing stronger for the federal government to plan for re-opening.

Australia is already way behind key competitors on vaccination rates . Australia is 1.9 per cent fully and 12 per cent partially vaccinated, compared to the UK (36 per cent fully and 21.2 per cent partial) and the USA (39.9 per cent fully and 9.8 per cent partial).

So, while this 160 student proposal is a step in the right direction for the industry and good for students who wish to return to study in SA, it does little to address global movement in what is, or maybe was Australia’s third largest export industry.

Dirk Mulder advises education and business clients on trends in international education. He writes regularly for CMM