University sector and economy need student influx
The mantra from political leaders has long been that you must fix the health crisis before repairing the economic crisis. With NSW recording 15 consecutive days without a new positive infection or death on Sunday and Victoria 23 days, and with South Australia confident that its recent outbreak is far more limited than thought, the health crisis would appear well contained across Australia.
The financial repair work has certainly begun in earnest. Last week, the NSW government was the latest to open its wallets to the tune of $22 billion in tax cuts, infrastructure spending and vouchers to get people out and spending. Victoria will release its budget on Tuesday but has already announced billions of dollars in extra spending on social housing, mental health and infrastructure.
One sector that has already lost thousands of jobs and is facing a bleak 2021 is Australia’s universities. A recent report by education think tank Mitchell Institute calculated there are more than 200,000 fewer international students in Australia due to the pandemic, and that figure could rise by another 100,000 by the middle of next year.
And while this is causing the sector a huge headache, the Mitchell report also points out that almost 60 per cent of the $37.5 billion international students would usually spend in Australia goes to buying goods and services in the wider economy.