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Enhanced experience for international students.

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Prime Minister of Australia

Media Release

Enhanced Experience for International Students

02 July 2009

The Australian Government today agreed with State and Territory governments to develop a national International Student Strategy which will enhance the experience of international students in Australia.

In agreeing this Strategy, all Australian governments acknowledge the importance to Australia of international education and the enormous contribution that these students make to our multicultural diversity, the academic life of our institutions and ongoing people-to-people linkages across the world.

The development of a national International Student Strategy will promote a broader vision of international education to encompass the broader benefits to Australia and the home nation and place Australia's international education on a more sustainable basis. It will also:

z improve the international student experience through improved pre and post-arrival information and engagement with the ethnic and broader Australian community; and z enhance general educational offerings that develop cultural understanding, tolerance and language skills.

Helping international students engage with the community in which they live benefits students and their communities.

The Prime Minister announced today $50,000 for Darebin City Council in north Melbourne, to engage international students with the community of Darebin through social and sporting events.

The Commonwealth will also publish a guide, based on successful activities and programs run by education institutions, so that all institutions with international students can enhance social interaction between communities and international students.

It is important to extend Australian hospitality to international students.

All government, education and training providers and student unions should support greater levels of interaction between international students and local communities.

Australia will also send a delegation to India. It will be led by a senior Australian Government official and comprise officials from Australian, Victorian and New South Wales governments, Victorian Police and representatives of the vocational and higher education sectors.

The delegation will meet with Indian Government Ministers and key officials in Delhi on 5th July 2009. It will also travel to major Indian cities to meet with state governments and others to hear about their concerns and reassure them that Australia is a safe destination for Indian students.

In addition, the International Student Roundtable will be held in Canberra on 14-15 September 2009. International students will be able to directly discuss issues affecting their study experience - such as accommodation, welfare and safety - and propose ideas for their resolution at the International Student Roundtable.

These ideas will then be considered by Ministers at the inaugural Ministerial Council on Tertiary Education in November 2009. Nominations will open at the end of July.

Australia is proud of the fact that thousands of students choose to study in Australia every year.

Recent attacks on Indian students in Australia have highlighted a number of issues of concern to these and other student communities, not only with safety but with a range of issues related to living and studying in Australia.

The Council of Australian Governments held in Darwin today strongly supported high profile, visible police initiatives where required to respond to attacks on international students, targeting metropolitan transit hubs and other priority areas to

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ensure the general safety of students and the travelling public, and will maintain this commitment for as long as it is required.

Victoria and NSW have recently implemented a range of additional initiatives to improve student safety including a crackdown on crime around metropolitan transport hubs and heightened community engagement by police. COAG agreed such initiatives should be maintained.

A new national strategy will put Australia’s international education sector on a strong footing for the future.

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