The property industry – the biggest contributor to Australia’s economy at $235 billion annually – has swung behind the NSW Government’s announcement to approve tightly controlled quarantine arrangements to facilitate the return of international students to Australia -beginning with the return of 250 a fortnight.
Property Council NSW Executive Director, Jane Fitzgerald said the private sector plan to operate and fund the resumption of the international student intake, in a way that prioritises the protection of public health as we recover from the pandemic, should be warmly embraced by ‘mum and dad’ small businesses and the broader community.
“Small businesses around Kensington near the University of NSW, for example, are still struggling without the valuable custom of international students,” Ms Fitzgerald said.
“It’s great to see their return has become a State priority.
“The excellent proposal by the Purpose-Built Student Accommodation Industry Working Group put to the NSW Government is the blueprint to resuscitate Australia’s third largest export – education – and help cement Australia’s economic recovery.
“Activating this plan is entirely consistent with the NSW Government’s excellent management to date of the COVID-19 pandemic and there is no doubt that this plan could be safely and thoroughly implemented.
“With the green light being given to resume the student intake through the bespoke quarantine arrangements that would double as student accommodation is a necessary trial run to the resumption of a broader plan.
“Combined with the game changing vaccination program, this is the circuit breaker we need to further shore up confidence in quarantine arrangements so we can safely re-open our borders with confidence.
“With about half the demand for greenfield homes in NSW coming from immigration, thousands of property and construction jobs – and the State’s economic growth – will be at risk over the next year once HomeBuilder expires.
“This sensible and measured plan should be seen as the first step in inoculating NSW from longer term economic damage and a means to protect the jobs of even more of the half a million people in NSW who make up the property industry.”