The University of Adelaide, Flinders University, the University of South Australia and other South Australian education providers can collaborate on travel and quarantine accommodation arrangements for the return of international students following an ACCC interim authorisation.

The proposed arrangements prioritise the return of continuing students, including those who need to complete practical or on-site components of their course to progress their studies or to graduate.

“This interim authorisation allows South Australian education providers to commence working together to bring international students back to Australia, similar to the authorisation provided to NSW and ACT universities,” ACCC Commissioner Stephen Ridgeway said.

The South Australian Government is cooperating with the Australian Government on an arrival plan that currently requires international students to undertake 14 days quarantine at an approved quarantine centre. The ACCC’s interim authorisation allows the participating education providers to collectively decide on the allocation of flights and quarantine facility spots. Each education provider can then decide which overseas students are offered the opportunity to return first.

“Nothing in the ACCC’s decision affects the Australian Government or State Government rules in relation to quarantine, capacity limits or funding,” Mr Ridgeway said.

“The interim authorisation simply provides an exemption from competition law for the participating South Australian education providers to work together to bring back international students in time for the 2022 academic year.”

The participating South Australian education providers will be able to collaborate on the appointment of agents to organise travel and quarantine arrangements for returning students. The students and the education providers will be responsible for the cost of travel arrangements and quarantine.

“The use of shared agents to handle international arrivals and for quarantine arrangements will make the process simpler and easier for the participating education providers, students and government agencies,” Mr Ridgeway said.

“South Australian education providers may choose whether they want to participate in the arrangements. Further, international students can independently seek a travel exemption from the Australian Government and make their own travel arrangements if they wish.”

More information, including the ACCC’s Interim Authorisation Decision, is available at: The University of Adelaide & Ors.


Participating education providers are likely to include:

  • The University of Adelaide
  • Flinders University
  • University of South Australia
  • The University of Adelaide College
  • Torrens University
  • Kaplan Business School
  • Flight Training Adelaide

Other education providers that have campuses in South Australia are also able to participate in the arrangements.

The Australian Government has developed protocols that outline the steps for states and territories and education institutions to prepare for international student arrivals, including current requirements for students to quarantine for 14 days.

The University of Adelaide, Flinders University and the University of South Australia seek authorisation for education providers to collaborate until the end of December 2022.

The ACCC is accepting submissions on the application for authorisation by 10 November 2021 and will issue its draft determination, and invite further submissions, in December 2021. A draft determination states whether the ACCC proposes to grant or dismiss the application for authorisation, whether the proposed grant of authorisation is subject to conditions, and the reasons for the ACCC’s proposed decision.

Notes to editors

ACCC authorisation provides statutory protection from court action for conduct that might otherwise raise concerns under the competition provisions of the Competition and Consumer Act (CCA).

The CCA allows the ACCC to grant interim authorisation when it considers it is appropriate. This allows the parties to engage in the proposed conduct while the ACCC is considering the merits of the substantive application.

The ACCC may review a decision on interim authorisation at any time, including in response to feedback raised following interim authorisation.

Broadly, the ACCC may grant an authorisation when it is satisfied that the likely public benefit from the conduct outweighs any likely public detriment.