Government to Accelerate Return of Int’l Students as Australia’s Building Industry Experiences $370 Million Loss

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Victoria’s building industry suffered a $370 million loss in 2020 due to international students not being permitted in the country, which forced universities to stop building and apartment projects to be put at halt.

The Property Council of Australia said the effects of lack of international students have cost more than $1 billion in losses and left 13,000 Victorians jobless, Erudera.com reports.

The Master Builders Association of Victoria, alongside businesses, has urged the education sector, the local government for the state, and Commonwealth to get Victoria’s $13 billion international education trade moving again since its absence is costing a lot to the state’s economy.

In 2020, Monash University allocated a $100 million capital between four campuses, and private workers in the city left the previously profitable business of building student accommodation.

According to Australian Bureau of Statistics findings, the value of building commencements in the private sector has dropped from more than $466 million in the first quarter of 2020 to about $94 million in the last quarter of the year, thus marking a decline of nearly 80 percent.

The executive director of Property Council’s, Danni Hunter, noted that it’s crucial for the property industry and the entire revival of the state economy that governments comply with a plan for “fast-tracking the return of international students and for putting Melbourne’s education sector back on the map.”

On the other hand, states have different plans on international students’ return, with Victoria wanting to make space for a certain number of students within the arrivals’ cap and Canberra wanting to increase the number of international students accommodated.

Before the COVID-19 outbreak, architect Raymond Mah’s practice DKO planned a lot of student accommodation, a combination of a standard apartment and a hotel room, now a design that has been forgotten.

On the contrary, another DKO architect, Mr. Mah, says he feels lucky since many of the projects were close to being finished. He claims that the level of inquiry during this time has almost completely vanished.

Many students’ accommodation work loss has been replaced with designing owner-occupier apartment projects in university areas.

Universities Australia chief executive Catriona Jackson claimed that all universities in the country, confronted by a $3 billion in income loss, were forced to make “hard decisions.”

“This includes putting long-planned infrastructure projects, and capital works on hold where possible, as well as curtailing other discretionary expenditure,” Ms. Jackson said.

However, some universities in Australia are experiencing an increase in international students, despite borders remaining closed for them to attend studies in person.

According to a press release issued by the University of Queensland, an almost 50 percent increase in international students’ enrolment has been noted this year, compared to 2020. The increase has been driven, among others, by a 20 percent reduction in fees that universities across Australia are offering for international students studying remotely.

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