Australia's Victoria state on Wednesday announced a 45 million dollar relief package for international students facing economic hardships due to the coronavirus related restrictions, a move which would benefit thousands of students including Indians.
Over 40,000 overseas students including those from India are expected to receive a relief payment of up to 1,100 Australian dollars (USD 716) as part of a state emergency support package.
State premier Daniel Andrews, while making the announcement, said that international students are a vital part of our education system, our economy, and our community. They give so much to Victoria not just through the fees they pay, but also through the economic activity they generate for our businesses, and the contribution they make to our vibrant, inclusive society.
Andrews said that the pandemic has hit the international students with casual job losses in retail and hospitality. Many have also fallen through the cracks of federal government programs unable to access the support they need to support themselves.
To ensure Victoria's international students can buy the basics and get through to the other side of the crisis, the state government will establish a 45 million dollars International Student Emergency Relief Fund, he said.
The international education generated 12.6 billion dollars revenue for the state last financial year and also supported around 79,000 local jobs, with most students coming from China, India, Nepal, Malaysia and Vietnam, he noted.
The fund will provide a one-off payment to students in need while expanding emergency provisions for those experiencing exceptional circumstances.
Another state of Australian Capital Territory (ACT) on Tuesday announced a new 450,000 dollars package to support vulnerable people living in the ACT on temporary visas and international students who have lost their income due to the pandemic.
ACT Multicultural Affairs and Tertiary Education Minister Chris Steel said there were thousands of international students in Canberra, and while some of those students were well supported by their families at home, others were experiencing hardships with work drying up in areas like the hospitality industry.
"We are committed to ensuring Canberra remains a study destination of choice by supporting our international students living in Canberra who play such an important part in our cultural and economic life of our city," he said.
Meanwhile, four deaths at Sydney's Newmarch House nursing home on Tuesday and a death of an 80-year-old woman in Victoria took the national death toll to 90.
The number of positive cases in the country stood at 6,746 while the state of South Australia (SA) recorded no new cases in seven days.