Adelaide to trial the return of international students to Australia

Adelaide to trial the return of international students to Australia

Around 300 international students will make their way back to Adelaide, South Australia from early September as part of a pilot test program.

The trial will test how the Federal Government will manage the return of international students to Australia, including quarantine management, testing requirements, and getting students back at universities safely.

The pilot program was announced yesterday in Adelaide by Federal Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment Simon Birmingham, who stressed the importance of international students for Australia's economic rebound.

"This is a very important next step in terms of the recovery from the economic disaster of COVID," said Birmingham.

"International education is a huge services expert industry for Australia and for South Australia. It underpins many thousands of jobs and it is important that we work out how we can get international students back to Australia safely and appropriately.

"This pilot of around 300 students coming into Adelaide is going to be used to test just exactly how we're going to manage that, but it's being done with the utmost of safety requirements in place."

The students will be flying in from Singapore, while the contingent will also include Hong Kongers, mainland Chinese and Japanese nationals. 

Birmingham says Adelaide residents should have no concerns about the potential for COVID-19 to be re-introduced into the city as a result.

"We have successfully demonstrated, particularly in states like South Australia, that we can return Australians from all corners of the world, safely quarantine them, and provide no exposure to the South Australian community in that process," said Birmingham.

"We have to work through these steps very carefully. But that's why a careful pilot program is the right approach to take."

The news comes as exporters in Adelaide were given some good news from Birmingham, with the Minister announcing that new flights out of Adelaide into Doha with Qatar Airways had been secured.

"We're thrilled now to see the additional service flying out of Adelaide into Doha that opens up market opportunities...right across Europe, and indeed frankly around the world by getting back into that key hub," said Birmingham.

South Australian Minister for Trade and Investment Stephen Patterson also welcomed the news of the additional flights out of Adelaide into Doha.

"Today really is another important step forward as Qatar Airways resumes their direct flights from Adelaide into the Middle East," said Patterson.

"That's fantastic news for South Australian producers as it opens them up to one of our emerging markets so that then we can export our high-quality produce such as beef and lamb, and also our seafood into those markets.

"It's also a vote of confidence in the South Australian market itself and the handling of South Australia, how it's gone about its way with the COVID-19."

Updated at 12:15pm AEST on 17 August 2020.

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