MEMBERS STATEMENTS – Public transport: international student concessions – Tuesday, 31 May 2011

Posted on 15. Jun, 2011 in Speeches

Mr LIM (Clayton) — The Australian Human Rights Commission’s draft minimum standards in relation to international students, to be released soon, outlines measures to protect Australia’s 470 000 international students from inadequate housing, work exploitation and violence. I draw the attention of the Minister for Public Transport to the commission’s important recommendations to have public transport concessions for all students, regardless of their citizenship or mode of study. The commission notes with concern that the lack of transport concessions exposes young international students to the risk of violence.

It is obvious, according to the Australian Human Rights Commission, that the transport concessions are a real problem. Members of the house are well aware that these young international students are walking late at night rather than catching public transport, as they are not entitled to the concessions that local students are entitled to. This puts them in more danger than if they could get on public transport — a tram, a bus or a train.

Victoria has Australia’s largest number of international students as a proportion of its tertiary enrolments. We therefore have benefited significantly from this annual $18 billion industry, which is now bigger than even the tourism industry. Victoria and New South Wales are the only two states to refuse public transport concessions for international students. We are being regarded as mean‑spirited, arrogant, exploitative and uncaring.

I entreat the minister to take the lead in this matter. A transport concession would send a very positive goodwill and welcoming message — —

The DEPUTY SPEAKER — Order! The member’s time has expired.


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