Opposition plan to cut international students won’t solve housing crisis

The Opposition’s policy to cut international students will not solve the housing crisis, with a report released last month by the Student Accommodation Council showing international students only make up 4 per cent of the rental market Australia wide.

Further, the report found that students preferred to live in student accommodation and apartments in CBDs – not in the suburban family homes sought after by the average Australian renter.

“The Coalition’s plan to slash student numbers will tank the international education sector – which is worth $49 billion annually and is Australia’s largest service export – for the sake of four per cent of the rental market,” said Student Accommodation Council Executive Director Torie Brown.

“If we remove international students from our CBDs we will have a lot of empty student accommodation buildings and a lot of struggling small businesses, but we won’t be adding a large amount of rental homes back into the market for Australian families.”

“International students have been unfairly blamed for the rental crisis, when long term structural issues in Australia’s housing market are the real cause for rental pressures. We need to look at the broad spectrum of issues driving up rent and reducing the supply of homes, rather than blaming a single cohort,” she said.

“International students are living in, spending money in, and supporting our CBDs that are still struggling with office workers who have not fully returned post-Covid.”

“International students are also temporary migrants. They come over, they study, and the vast majority of them go home. They are after the flexible short-term rental options offered by student accommodation, they are not trying to buy homes in the suburbs.”

Anouk Darling, Chair of the Student Accommodation Council said “the key to maintaining a sustainable and prosperous education sector, is our ability to house students in accommodation that suits their needs, is safe and conveniently located. And we know the fastest way for universities to add the student accommodation they need is to partner with the private sector.”

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