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Victorian students are given no relief in the face of a cost of living crisis

University Students in Victoria face a unique dilemma. In the face of a cost of living crisis, where available rentals are at all-time low and essential items are becoming more expensive by the day, full-time students are expected to survive on part-time incomes.

Before the pandemic, higher education was Victoria’s biggest export industry, ‘the education state’ is written on our licence plates… this was a sector we valued.

Rod Barton MP believes that education and public transport accessibility goes hand in hand.

In 2020, Barton began a parliamentary inquiry on the free tram zone that also looked at making public transport free for all students. The inquiry heard of students who are forced to choose between lunch or a myki fare. Barton believes there is nothing more important than getting students to school, university, and TAFE.
Currently, the myki fare system allows full-time undergraduate students a concession card. However, post-graduate students are not immediately granted a concession, rather they must be eligible for a health care card. This means many students miss out, including international visa students.

Some have argued it would be just too expensive to provide a concession to all students, however, it is a drop in the ocean when you compare it to the income international students bring into the state. In 2019, international education generated $13.7 billion in revenue and contributed around 79,000 jobs to the Victorian economy in 2021.

Some students have reported that they wouldn’t recommend other students’ study in Victoria because of unfair treatment on public transport. At a time when we are desperately encouraging international students to return, it seems foolish for Victoria to be the only state in Australia denying post-graduate students a concession.

Barton is asking, why do Victorian students deserve less?

At the very least, transport concessions should be granted to full-time post-graduate students. But Barton takes education and accessibility seriously, he wants to make public transport free for all students, including post-graduate students.

Quotes attributable to Member for Eastern Metropolitan and the Leader of the Transport Matters Party Rod Barton MP:

“There is this misconception in the community that all post-graduate students are rich. This is far from the truth. Many employers now expect candidates to hold a post-graduate as a bare-minimum and students are struggling financially to reach this high bar.”

“Victoria is the only state that doesn’t allow post-graduate students to access a concession. Why are Victorians always drawing the short end of the stick?”

 

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  • Emma Louise Gardner
    published this page in Latest News 2022-11-14 16:13:43 +1100