UniProjects Pty Limited & Ors

Summary

On 26 May 2021, UniProjects Pty Limited (UniProjects), on behalf of itself and its 14 member universities in New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory (the Applicants), applied for authorisation to collaborate in order to establish an international student travel corridor to facilitate the return of international students to NSW and ACT-based universities. Specifically, the Applicants seek authorisation to:

  1. jointly appoint a travel management services provider to manage the project, including procuring seats on commercial flights and managing student bookings
  2. collaborate to identify and implement solutions to establish the international student travel corridor to return students either via commercial or charter flights
  3. implement an arrangement to allocate available seats for international students on commercial or charter flights as between participating universities
  4. exchange any information reasonably necessary for the purposes of (b) and (c) above, and
  5. communicate with travel services providers and with students seeking to avail themselves of the opportunity to return to Australia.

The Applicants propose that priority will be given to continuing students. While some students are able to complete their studies offshore via online learning, there are a significant number of international students whose studies include on-site or practical components (e.g. medicine, science, engineering and nursing) and therefore need to return to Australia to complete their studies.

Given that the number of students who can enter NSW every fortnight is expected to be capped for public health and hotel quarantine purposes, and the limited number of seats available on international flights, the Applicants seek authorisation to collaborate to establish a mechanism to allocate these seats proportionally to historical overseas student enrolments at NSW and ACT universities. Each participating university will decide which students are to be prioritised for its allocation of seats based on a range of factors, including course components and/or requirements and graduation schedules.

Authorisation is sought until June 2022.

On 17 June 2021, the ACCC granted urgent interim authorisation allowing the Applicants to engage in the Proposed Conduct. The Interim Authorisation Decision, public submissions and a copy of the application for authorisation are available below.

The ACCC will progress its assessment of the application in a timely manner. An indicative timetable for the ACCC’s assessment is set out below.

Indicative date

Stage in assessment process

26 May 2021

Lodgement of application and supporting submission.

31 May 2021

Public consultation process begins.

8 June 2021

Closing date for submissions on interim authorisation

17 June 2021

ACCC decision regarding interim authorisation.

29 June 2021

Closing date for submissions from interested parties on substantive application

July 2021

Applicant responds to issues raised in the public consultation process.

July/August 2021

Draft determination.

August 2021

Public consultation on draft determination including any conference if called.

August/September  2021

Final determination.

Applicant(s)

  • UniProjects Pty Limited

Authorisation number(s)

  • AA1000554-1