Member for Wollongong, Paul Scully, is calling on the Berejiklian Government to support international students in the Illawarra who are also suffering as a result of COVID-19 restrictions.
Mr Scully said that while community organisations, individuals and the University of Wollongong have been providing support to stranded students, NSW should not be the only state in Australia that has so far not been willing to extend a helping hand.
“International students are a key part of the regional economic and our local community in the Illawarra”, Mr Scully said.
“Other states have stepped up to help stranded students but NSW for inexplicable reasons has not, which is risking our international reputation.
“I cannot understand why the Berejiklian Government continues to delay supporting NSW’s second largest export earner”, Mr Scully said.
NSW Labor is calling for the Berejiklian Government to:
- Follow Victoria’s lead which has provided a $60 million package to fund survival grants of up to $1100 for international students experiencing hardship
- Target a portion of the $1 billion “Working for NSW” fund to provide jobs for people who have no access to, or are ineligible for, other support programs
- Advocate in National Cabinet for the inclusion of temporary visa workers, including international students, to be included in the JobKeeper program
- Call on other universities to provide support for international students as the University of Wollongong has done.
Mr Scully said that if the NSW Government expects international students to consider NSW universities as a study destination in the future, then it must also be willing to support international students during bad times, as well as welcoming them in good times.
“As a former student and employee of the University of Wollongong, I enjoyed mixing with international students from all parts of the world and I don’t want to see future students turning their backs on NSW because the Berejiklian Government was the only state government not to provide support to international students.
“The Illawarra showed support for people from overseas stranded through no fault of their own on the Ruby Princess, now it’s time for the Berejiklian Government to show similar support for our international students”, Mr Scully said.