Federal Education Minister Alan Tudge says the large-scale return of international students to Australian campuses may depend on the availability of an effective vaccine.
In his first public comments since being appointed to the education portfolio, Mr Tudge said there was no clear timeline for when international students could return in significant numbers, but the prospect of a successful vaccine provided an avenue of hope.
“Ordinarily, we have about 185,000 students who would cross the borders and come into Australia to start at the beginning of the academic year, and about the same number again in the middle of the year. Now, when we can get back to those types of numbers, I don’t know yet,” Mr Tudge told ABC radio.
“We’re really taking it week by week and month by month. Obviously, a big factor in all of this is the vaccine and how effective that will be. And should that vaccine be effective, then it really does make a big difference and we may be able to take numbers in again.”