The Australian Government has decided to impose international tuition fees on New Zealand students at Australian universities as part of their recently introduced Education Reform Package.
The changes will come into effect from 1 January 2018 and will likely affect thousands of New Zealanders.
Previously, New Zealand citizens were treated as domestic students when applying to access subsidies for higher education providers in Australia.
New Zealanders wanting to study in Australian universities will now have to pay international fees, increasing the cost of university courses by as much as three times.
Prime Minister Bill English, when speaking to the NZ Herald, described how “deeply unhappy” he was about the reform, describing it as the latest major policy change affecting Kiwis that has been announced with little or no warning.
In the same article, English ruled out retaliatory action against Australia, instead assuring Australians that New Zealand will keep to their side of the bargain.
Australia’s Minister for Education and Training Senator Simon Birmingham in the Higher Education Reform Package document released by the Australian Government, noted the incredible success of the Australian education sector, praising it as being the country’s third largest export industry, as well as the AUS$21.8 billion in export income it generated in 2016, the highest it’s ever been.
However, Birmingham explained that the success of the sector comes at a price, outlining that since 2009 taxpayer funding for teaching and learning has increased by 71 percent.
A New Zealand Labour Party press release said the fact that “Kiwis living in Australia will have to pay full tertiary fees under proposed changes by the Australian Government, shows Bill English can’t maintain the bromance enjoyed by his predecessor.”
“Australians studying in New Zealand are treated as domestic students here and therefore don’t pay full fees. All we want is a fair deal with our closest neighbours, but once again it feels like we’re getting the short end of the stick.”
Australian citizens living in New Zealand can receive various benefits, such as jobseeker support, solo parent support, and can enroll to vote following just 12 months residency.