City of Sydney pushes for public transport concessions for all students

City of Sydney pushes for public transport concessions for all students
Image: Councillor HY William Chan



City of Sydney is striving to make public transport concessions more accessible for all students in NSW.

Currently, international students and part-time students aren’t eligible for public transport concessions.

During the most recent council meeting, Independent Councillor HY William Chan called on the Council to endorse a petition from the Sydney University SRC and their Postgraduate Representative Society in March 2024.

The petition, which received over 21,000 signatures, aimed to “make transport concessions available to all students in NSW”.

NSW has the most international students of any state and territory in Australia, with Cr Chan highlighting to Council that “international education is the 2nd largest service export in NSW, worth $9.7 billion.”

Cr Chan, who completed his full post-graduate degree as an international student and was on the academic board for the University of Sydney, said, “This is not merely an oversight; it is a gross injustice that must be rectified without delay.”

“I constantly hear from my students that this persistent and significant issue is one of fairness, equity and fundamental inclusion.”

The notion noted that the majority of students who opt to study part-time are women, carers, and people with disabilities, who are disproportionately affected by the lack of concession for public transport.

Increasing cost-of-living pressures and housing difficulties have forced many students to live away from campus. A 2020 research study conducted at the University of Sydney found that over 90 per cent of university students living away from campus.

Affordable transport is thus paramount, especially when considering that in October 2023, Opal fares increased by 3.7 per cent on average.

Speaking to Council, Cr Chan pointed out that though the Australian government touts equality for all, yet “the government cannot espouse values of equality and fairness whilst simultaneously perpetuating discrimination through policy.”

He further explained how potentially “the NSW government is not only creating financial barriers for them, but also risks tarnishing Sydney’s reputation as a welcoming and inclusive destination for global scholars.”

In addition, over 40 per cent of educational providers, from universities to English language courses, are in the City of Sydney.

That’s over 550 educational institutions.

Cr Chan rose in the chamber “to call out the discrimination faced by Sydney’s international and part time student as they continue to be excluded from the NSW Government public transport concession scheme.”

The council carried the motion to endorse the petition, which will be debated in the NSW Legislative Assembly on the 9th May 2024.


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