As part of the package, the Student Quarantine Support Program will receive $8m to go towards $2,000 payments for the state’s international students in Semester 1, 2022 for quarantine-related costs.
The Industry Support Program has been allotted $6m, which will seek to assist eligible small and medium-sized education providers impacted by the closure of international borders. Grants of $50,000 and $100,000 are available for businesses.
Universities across Western Australia will benefit from a supplementary $500 payment to deliver support services for affected international students. The total set aside for that is $2m.
“WA’s international education sector, including returning students, have been hit hard by the border changes”
“Western Australia’s international education sector, including returning students, have been hit hard by the border changes, which came into effect at midnight on February 5,” Tara Colyer-Long, Interim CEO of StudyPerth explained.
Institutions warned that a snap decision to delay the state’s border opening, despite other regions welcoming international students, would result in further job and revenue losses. One member of staff at one of Western Australia’s institutions told The Guardian the decision had thrown the sector “into chaos”.
“StudyPerth has been working closely with the government and WA police to answer the many questions we are receiving daily from international students who are enrolled to study in Perth this year, but not yet in WA,” Colyer-Long added.
The team has worked “around the clock” to support students with welcome pack delivery services, daily virtual drop-in sessions and free counselling support services.
“We’ve also been working with the team at Australian Hotels Association WA to secure special hotel deals for those students in self-quarantine,” she noted.
The new funding from the government is part of a $77m Safe Transition Industry Support Package, which also has plans to support the tourism and travel-related sectors.
“International students are vitally important to the social and cultural fabric of WA, the economy and international relationships with the countries from which students come, and we will continue to work with the WA government to welcome international students as soon as it is safe to do so,” Colyer-Long said.