March 8, 2017

8 March 2017 IRU submission to Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade consultation on the development of a Foreign Policy Whitepaper

This submission to the consultation on the development of a Foreign Policy Whitepaper sets out the issues of importance to higher education. Central to these themes is the importance of International Education to Australia, as a quality export, but also as a job-creator. Austrade, International Education 2025 stated, “International education is currently one of Australia’s top service exports, valued at $19.65 billion in 2015 (including fees and associated expenditure) and supports over 130,000 jobs in cities and regions throughout Australia”.1 In any period of economic uncertainty, education or re-tooling will always be sought after. From an outward facing prism, the role education plays in transforming lives should not be underestimated. Australia’s National Strategy for International Education stated two global trends to be mindful of in this context. Firstly, that with an increase in global development and industrialisation in the Indo-Pacific region will increase demand for skilled workers2 . Secondly, that with a global economy increasing mobility across the workforce, there is an opportunity for Australia’s education system to play in offering lifelong learning opportunities to students, professionals and researchers.3 In this context, this submission addresses the questions of most concern to universities, namely: 1. Which countries will matter most to Australia over the next 10 years? Why and in what ways? How should we deepen and diversify key relationships? 2. What steps should be taken to maximise our trade and investment and expand commercial opportunities for Australian business? How can we ensure Australia is positioned to take advantage of opportunities in the global economy? 3. How can Government work more effectively with non-government sectors, including business, universities and NGOs, to advance Australia’s interests?

For recommendations download the submission.