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Say no to international student levy

Student Accommodation Council suggests instead of imposing taxes on students who contribute significantly the community, government should work with industry to expand the supply of this housing category

The Student Accommodation Council has cautioned against short-term thought bubbles like a proposed tax on international students, as Australia considers how to overcome a multi-decade housing supply deficit.

Having canvassed an international student levy (ISL) in its interim report, the Universities Accord panel is set to release its final report next month, and such a levy should be ruled out immediately.

The latest AccomNews print issue is available now. Read it HERE

Property Council Group Executive Policy and Advocacy Matthew Kandelaars said adding a tax on international student incomes ignores the reality of the nation’s housing supply deficit.

“Australia needs to be a magnet for global capital and the best and brightest from around the world,” Mr Kandelaars said.

“We know that imposing an ISL would have far-reaching effects in the Australian economy.

“With international education being Australia’s top service export at $40 billion pre-pandemic, attracting 300,000 visitors annually who visit students who spend roughly $4,000 monthly in our economy, our focus should be on housing these students rather than taxing them.

“Purpose-built student accommodation (PBSA) plays a vital role in providing safe, high amenity housing for students who are a vital source of life for our CBDs.

“PBSA ensures a strong pipeline of beds and takes nearly 80,000 people each year out of the wider residential rental market – reducing demand and easing affordability.

“By providing a tailored housing solution exclusively for students, PBSA enhances the supply of rental housing, alleviating strain on the broader housing market.

“Instead of imposing taxes on students who contribute significantly to our community, the government should work with industry to expand the supply of this housing category as a priority.

“Planning approvals, removing taxes like foreign investor fees and planning systems that prioritise student accommodation close to places of study should all be a top priority for policymakers.

“It’s important that we have a strong pipeline of new PBSA assets in Australia to ensure our vital international education sector can continue to grow, and our CBDs are given a leg-up in their recovery,” he said.

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