The Albanese Government’s plan to require universities to establish new, purpose-built student accommodation in their latest Federal Budget has been quashed by the coalition, who plan to cut the number of international students undertaking tertiary studies across the country.

The coalition is of the belief that international students are placing too much strain on the rental market, and the purpose-built student accommodation pipeline is not strong enough to handle the constant intake. In opposition to these claims, the Student Accommodation Council has published figures that show international students only make up 4 percent of the rental market Australia wide.

“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,” says Student Accommodation Council Executive Director Torie Brown.

“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.”

$2.1 million is being set aside by the federal government to ensure the reforms are delivered to ensure additional student accommodation by universities. Caps on international students and regulations will be made in due course. Student accommodation will be designed and built for both domestic and international students.

“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,” Accommodation Council Chair Anouk Darling says. 

“And we know the fastest way for universities to add the student accommodation they need is to partner with the private sector.”

Image: La Trobe University Bundoora Student Accommodation Stage 1.