Page 3255 - Week 08 - Tuesday, 16 August 2011

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MS BURCH: No, I personally have not written directly to the minister on that but I know it is under active consideration.

MR SPEAKER: Dr Bourke, a supplementary.

DR BOURKE: What consideration is being given for the inclusion of international students as part of this concession scheme?

MS BURCH: I thank Dr Bourke for his interest in the student card as well. The reciprocal recognition of student concessions is a problem facing all students. The inclusion of international students is an issue that needs to be explored by the interjurisdictional work that I am proposing and hoping to get up following the October meeting. Victoria and New South Wales currently do not have concession transport fares to international students but the ACT does. States need to balance the economic benefit that international students bring and their ability to access services.

I understand that, while international students attending educational institutions in the ACT are able to access concessional transport fares, they value the opportunity to explore the rest of Australia during their visit. Travelling to cities like Sydney and Melbourne, interstate, is part of the attraction of studying here in Canberra and at other campuses across Australia. This will be an issue that I will be raising as part of the development of a card so that jurisdictions can assess the feasibility of a national inclusion of international students.

I note that including international students in the scheme could have significant budget implications for some states. This has been described as somewhere in excess of $50 million for Victoria and New South Wales. So it is a significant issue and it is worthy, certainly, of scrutiny and assessment. The assessment of this cost against the benefits for the attraction and welfare of international students needs to be undertaken, and I look forward to the discussion once the working group gets underway.

Ms Gallagher: I ask that all further questions be placed on the notice paper.

Supplementary answer to question without notice

Planning—alleged interference

MR BARR: During question time the Leader of the Opposition asked me a question in relation to the dates for meetings I had with the Giralang Residents Action Group and I said I would seek to check whether the records went back in terms of my electronic diary. I am pleased to advise that they do. I can find four meetings with the Giralang Residents Action Group, on 7 August 2007, 24 January 2008, 7 March 2008 and 8 July 2010.

Mr Seselja: And the proponents?

MR BARR: Sorry?

Mr Seselja: I asked a question about the proponents as well.

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