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Tuesday, 5 May 1987
Page: 2567

Mr FREE —Will the Minister for Trade advise the House of the results to date of the Australian Trade Commission's marketing of education services?

Mr DAWKINS —I thank the honourable member for his question and acknowledge his very long-standing interest in education policy. About nine months ago the Government decided to change the policy in relation to the admission to universities, colleges of advanced education and other similar kinds of institutions of overseas students paying full fees. I am pleased to be able to say that that has been a very successful change and that, from the results of a survey which does not cover all institutions which have joined this program, it indicates that some $18m has been paid in fees by full fee paying overseas students. When we add about another $18m, which it is estimated is what those students would be paying for their living costs in Australia, and when we also add the cost of travel, which would be coming via Qantas Airways Ltd into our balance of payments, we can see that in this year alone this change of policy has added some $50m to our export income.

Therefore, I think the earlier estimate that was made, as a result of a mission which reported on this matter, of this being an area where we can expect to earn some $100m a year is obviously very conservative. We would expect next year the total export income from this change to amount to about $100m. I want to congratulate those universities and colleges that have taken up this important challenge to offer opportunities to overseas students. I wish that more universities and colleges would emulate their efforts.