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Monday, 19 October 2009
Page: 10107


Mr RAGUSE (3:56 PM) —I close off my comments today, following my earlier statements that were very much about our need to look at the amendments to ensure that this industry, which currently returns $15 billion to our economy, is somewhat protected. These amendments go somewhat towards that. I spoke about our experiences particularly with countries in South-East Asia, where we have developed a pipeline for students who come to this country. It is very important that we make sure that students are protected. Being parochial, being from Queensland, I said that some within the education sector have told me that a lot of these problems have occurred elsewhere in our country. The reality is that we need to apply legislation nationally to ensure that registration and the continuation of ensuring quality service provision is essentially there.

In part of the earlier discussion I mentioned the services of a subsidiary of the University of Queensland, the IES, which provides a whole range of services and provides students to the university sector. The gentlemen Gerald van Balveren and Chris Evason, representing the IES and its programs, spoke to me and essentially said that, as a provider to many universities, including its own—and it has been in business since 1997, providing quality services for students in this country—the IES is concerned, as we all are, about the reputation that we have as a country. Essentially, they have introduced a training program. Over 11,000 people around the world are doing online training in the area of service provision for students, including international students. That certainly suggests that they are very keen on the Baird review and the legislation that will ultimately govern international students in Australia. It is important that we protect them and it is important for our reputation—it is certainly important for those reasons—but, at the end of the day, our resolve to ensure that we make it safe for international students is very important. (Time expired)