Australian Greens Education spokesperson Senator Mehreen Faruqi has said that all states and territories have put the federal government to shame over its lack of support for international students.
Last night, New South Wales became the last state to release a package providing support to international students during COVID-19. The federal government continues to deny international students access to federal income support, and has not set up any financial assistance fund or program for students. Students across the country are going hungry and are at risk of homelessness.
Senator Faruqi said:
“This is nothing less than a complete failure of leadership and humanity from the Morrison government.
“It’s extraordinary that the federal government has completely abrogated its responsibility for higher education, and left it up to the states and territories to support the half a million international students currently studying in Australia.
“With NSW stepping up, all states and territories are now putting the Commonwealth to shame over its treatment of international students.
“There are hundreds of thousands of students who have lost work and would be eligible for the JobKeeper and JobSeeker payments were it not for their visa status. They are doing it incredibly tough.
“The state-level packages are welcome, but they won’t be enough to get international students through COVID-19. Packages also vary from state to state. We need a federal level commitment and national coordination to make sure that every single student gets the support they need to get through this crisis,” she said.