The Abacus

Education boom changing the face of cities’ centres

By: The Australian

The $20 billion international education industry has transformed the face of the southern state capitals and created an unofficial race to attract Asian students.

Analysis of Australian ­Bureau of Statistics figures confirms that Melbourne’s CBD is facing the biggest cultural transformation in decades as higher education and cheap student accommodation attract mainly Chinese students in record numbers.

The soaring demand is also flowing into Adelaide’s CBD, where almost 30 per cent — or 4249 people — claim Chinese ­ancestry, only slightly behind central Sydney in total numbers.

The ABS breakdown supplied to The Australian also shows that central Brisbane and central Perth are lagging behind the other capitals in attracting the Chinese education dollar.

The figures show Melbourne’s CBD has 38 per cent of its population — almost 18,000 ­people — reporting Chinese ancestry

Australia China Business Council president John Brumby said the booming Chinese middle class was attracted to Australia for tourism and education, based in part on the clean air, orderly cities and desire by wealthy parents to provide the best for their children.

He said the export income earned from education had great capacity to broaden Australia’s economy, comparing the more regionalised benefits of the mining boom with a national spread possible due to the education ­industry.

“If we get things right and provide good, quality education and a good experience and value for money, the market will continue to grow,’’ Mr Brumby said.

“The past resources boom was reasonably localised; the benefits of education and tourism is that it is spread across Australia.’’



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