Discussion paper: Public transport concessions for international students in New South Wales

Download – International transport concessions NSW discussion paper

New South Wales is the only state which excludes international university students from public transport concessions. Lack of access to public transport concessions makes New South Wales a less desirable study destination for overseas students.

International students bring in $13 billion per year to the NSW economy, with international education being the state’s largest services export industry. We estimate that extending public transport concessions to international higher education students would cost a maximum of $168.6 million per year.

On this basis, we recommend:

Recommendation one: That the New South Wales state government grants all full-time international students access to concession public transport fares.

Recommendation two: That the Council of Australian Governments implements a national transport concession scheme for all full-time students in Australia, permitting the use of concessions for interstate travel.

Recommendation three: That universities in New South Wales fund a transport concession scheme for their international students, in the interim.

This campaign is coordinated by the Council of Australian Postgraduate Associations, in partnership with the Council of International Students Australia and the National Union of Students. The campaign includes the joint effort of all campus-based student associations in New South Wales:

  • Newcastle University Postgraduate Students Association
  • Newcastle University Students’ Association
  • Southern Cross Postgraduate Association
  • Students’ Representative Council, University of Sydney
  • Sydney University Postgraduate Representative Association
  • University of New South Wales Postgraduate Council
  • University of New South Wales Student Representative Council
  • University of Technology Sydney Students Association
  • University of Western Sydney Student Representative Council
  • University of Wollongong Undergraduate Students’ Association
  • Wollongong University Postgraduate Association

Download – CAPA feedback on freedom of speech amendment

We thank the Higher Education Standards Panel for the opportunity for CAPA to provide our views on proposed amendments to the Higher Education Standards Framework (Threshold Standards) 2015 (the Standards). The proposed amendments are one outcome of the Hon Robert French’s Review of Freedom of Speech in Higher Education.
In our comments on the proposed amendment, we make the following recommendations:
Recommendation one: That the Higher Education Standards Framework not be amended as proposed.
Recommendation two: That, if the Standards are amended, the ordering be changed such that equitable treatment and wellbeing of students and staff be placed prior to freedom of speech.
Recommendation three: That, if the Standards are amended, the phrase “freedom of speech” be replaced with “freedom of political speech”.

Download – Submission to Royal Commission into Victoria’s Mental Health System

Promoting good mental health outcomes for postgraduate students requires both targeted mental health services (particularly counselling), and policy change to addressing the stressors which cause mental health disorders and sub-clinical distress in students. In particular, the experience of poverty and financial uncertainty contribute to postgraduate students’ difficulties.

We make the following recommendations on crucial policy changes to relieve postgraduate students’ levels of distress:

Recommendation one: That the Victorian Government lobby the Commonwealth Government to expand the coverage of Austudy to all full-time, domestic postgraduate students, subject to means-testing.

Recommendation two: That the Victorian Government provide additional scholarships, of greater or equivalent value to those provided through the Research Training Program, for students undertaking research degrees, as part of the project grants provided by the Victorian Government to universities.

We furthermore make the following recommendations on increasing the capacity of counselling services:

Recommendation three: That the Victorian Government, through legislative or regulatory measures, enforces minimum standards on wait times (no more than two weeks) and number of sessions available (no less than twelve) on the counselling services provided on public university campuses.

Recommendation four: That the Victorian Government supports changes to the Medicare Mental Health Care Plan system, to create a tiered system providing additional support to those with more complex cases.