The ACCC proposes to authorise NSW and ACT universities to collaborate to facilitate return of international students

The ACCC has issued a draft determination proposing to authorise New South Wales and Australian Capital Territory universities to collaborate to establish a program to return international students to Australia. The proposed arrangements prioritise the return of students who need to complete practical or on-site components of their course to progress their studies or to graduate.

The universities have developed this program due to the COVID-19 pandemic, in line with the Australian Government’s Protocols and preconditions for international student arrivals to re-open the tertiary education sector to international students. Authorisation would provide an exemption from competition law for the universities to collaborate to facilitate implementation of the program, including by allocating seats on flights under the NSW Government cap (250 students per fortnight) and jointly appointing a travel management provider to source flights and organise travel for returning students. Students will be responsible for booking and paying for their own flights.

The ACCC considers that the collaboration is likely to result in public benefits by providing an efficient and fair way of allocating seats and of facilitating the return of international students, and at a lower cost than if they were to book flights independently; and assisting the economic recovery of the tertiary sector. The ACCC considers that the arrangements are unlikely to result in significant public detriment.

On 21 June 2021, the ACCC granted interim authorisation to enable the proposed arrangements to commence while the ACCC considered the substantive application.

The ACCC has now issued a draft determination which proposes to grant authorisation until 30 June 2022. The ACCC invites submissions in relation to this draft determination by 19 August 2021. The ACCC will then make its final decision.

More information, including the ACCC’s Draft Determination, is available on the ACCC public register at: UniProjects Pty Limited & Ors


Published date: 
6 August 2021