The City of Melbourne has called for increased support for international students during the COVID-19 pandemic – including the establishment of a hardship fund to support students.
Lord Mayor Sally Capp said Councillors wanted state and federal governments to set up a hardship fund which could take contributions from the City of Melbourne, other levels of government, universities and the private sector.
“Every year, Melbourne welcomes thousands of international students with open arms. They’re an incredibly important part of our city, not only because of their significant economic contribution to our city, but as valued members of our community,” the Lord Mayor said
“Many international students play important roles at the front line of the fight against COVID-19, as researchers, student nurses, intern doctors, volunteers in hospitals and other health service providers.
“We need to recognise their contribution to our community by showing that we are a city that cares and still supports them, even when times are tough.
“We want to work collaboratively with our partners in state and federal government to give back to international students and support them through this challenging time.”
Councillors last night endorsed a motion recognising the contribution made by international students to Melbourne and outlining a range of measures to support them.
The notice of motion was put forward by International Engagement Portfolio Chair, Cr Philip Le Liu and seconded by Cr Nicholas Reece.
Cr Le Liu said the City of Melbourne would continue to work closely with relevant organisations including education providers, peak bodies and student services such as purpose built student accommodation.
“More than 200,000 international students from 170 countries live in Melbourne, including 52,000 international students who live or study in the central city,” Cr Le Liu said.
“We are proud of our world-class reputation for hosting international students – with Melbourne ranked as the third best student city in the world and first in Australia, we have a responsibility to support students as they, like many of us, grapple with the effects of COVID-19 on their wellbeing, their studies and on their ability to get by.”
The City of Melbourne will continue to work with Study Melbourne, the lead agency in delivering an online support service for international students.
The city will also investigate setting up free resume-checking; increasing opportunities for students to connect online; expanding communications with international students; and delivering a special edition of the NexStar internship program.