Queensland universities hit hard by COVID-19 will be given a $150 million lifeline by the State Government.
With Australia’s borders closed, universities have seen a massive fall in international students.
The sector is forecast to lose more than $1 billion this year with 4000 jobs at risk.
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Queensland was home to almost 60,000 international students last year, pumping $3 billion into the economy.
Universities will be given access to a $150 million loan facility to help protect jobs with the money to be repaid over five years.
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk says the package will help keep Queensland universities open.
“We’re putting the funding on the table to give certainty to the thousands of staff who rely on this sector every day,” The Premier said.
“Queensland’s universities from Cairns to the Gold Coast will be able to apply for loans.
“Our universities can access the loan funds so they can continue to employ staff, maintain vital on-going research projects and to keep educating local students.”
State Development Minister Kate Jones says the Federal Government has failed to protect our universities, accusing it of “dropping the ball.”
“For months, our universities have been crying out for support. These cries have fallen on deaf ears,” Ms Jones said.
“We’re doing everything we can to pick up some of the slack to safeguard the thousands of jobs that are at risk if our universities fail.
“Before COVID-19 international education was a rapidly-growing sector of our economy.
“This industry – and the thousands of students who support it – is vital to Queensland’s economic recovery.
“That’s why, unlike the Federal Government, we have not abandoned students who have been left stranded in Queensland – often struggling to find food or accommodation during these tough times.”