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Greens' international education Inquiry reaches Senate.

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Greens’ international education Inquiry reaches Senate Media Release | Spokesperson Sarah Hanson-Young Tuesday 16th June 2009, 9:34am in

• Immigration • International Students • Senate Inquiries • Tertiary Education

Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young hopes the Senate will support the Greens’ move for an Inquiry into the treatment of international students in Australia, which she will give notice of motion for today.

“A Senate Inquiry is needed to provide a transparent and inclusive process for working through some of the very concerning issues evident within international education in Australia,” said Senator Hanson-Young, Greens spokesperson for Education.

“Recent violent attacks have cast a stark spotlight on some of the problems confronting international students in our country, and there are many more systemic issues that urgently require examination.

“Australia is enjoying a booming international education sector that has become our third-biggest export behind coal and iron ore - and it’s now time to make sure we are fulfilling all the responsibilities that come with such demand.

“We as Australians have a duty of care to ensure that the students attracted to our country are looked after properly in terms of their safety, welfare and rights.

“Adequate information, accessible accommodation, freedom from workplace exploitation, and delivering a quality educational experience are just some of the guarantees Australia should be able to give its thousands of international students.”

The National Union of Students, Universities Australia, the Council of Australian Postgraduate Associations, the Federation of Indian Students and the Australian Federation of International Students have indicated their support for the Greens’ proposed Senate Inquiry.

Senator Hanson-Young said the Greens acknowledged initiatives announced last week by the Federal Government to improve the international education sector.

“We appreciate the Government’s attention to some of the issues, and see a Senate Inquiry as the best way for anyone, from students to state governments, to participate,” she said.

“The Greens are committed to providing an inclusive process to get all of the concerns currently troubling international education on the table.”

The terms of reference for the Greens’ proposed Senate Inquiry are as follows. That the following matters be referred to the Senate Education, Employment and Workplace Relations References Committee for inquiry and report by November 16 2009: a) The roles and responsibilities of education providers, migration agents, state and federal governments, and relevant departments, in ensuring the quality and adequacy in information, advice, service delivery and support, with particular reference to: • Student safety; • Adequate and affordable housing; • Social inclusion; • Student Visa Requirements; • Employment rights and protections from exploitation; and • Adequate international student supports and advocacy; b) The identification of quality benchmarks and controls for service, advice and support for international students studying at an Australian education institution; c) And other related matters.