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. collaborate to facilitate compliance with Government quarantine requirements for students and any student well-being initiatives while in quarantine, including any agreement between the universities to absorb some or all of the costs of these services to students
  5. exchange any information reasonably necessary for the purposes of (b) and (c) above, and
  6. 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.

On 17 June 2021, the ACCC granted urgent interim authorisation allowing the Applicants to engage in the Proposed Conduct.

On 5 August 2021, the ACCC issued a draft determination proposing to grant authorisation until 30 June 2022.

Following the draft determination, the Applicants requested that in light of the uncertainty and continuation of international travel restrictions related to COVID-19, they be granted authorisation for a longer period than initially sought (namely, until 31 December 2022).

On 7 October 2021, the ACCC issued a determination granting authorisation to the Applicants to engage in the Proposed Conduct until 31 December 2022.

Further information about the ACCC’s decision is available in the Decisions section below.

Applicant(s)

  • UniProjects Pty Limited

Authorisation number(s)

  • AA1000554-1