City could lose international students

An agency responsible for attracting international students to Adelaide says it will not survive if the State Government goes ahead with planned budget cuts.

Education Adelaide was set up more than 10 years ago to promote the city as a destination for foreign students.

Chairman Bill Spurr says the organisation depends on the Government for 60 per cent of its budget, with the rest provided by the universities and the Adelaide City Council.

Mr Spurr says the agency has helped to attract thousands students to Adelaide but now fears it could have its funding slashed after the mid-year budget review.

Earlier this month, the Government announced $3 million worth of cuts to higher education programs.

Acting Treasurer Michael O'Brien says it has not yet been decided where the cuts will be made but Mr Spurr says he has been told otherwise.

"We were informed by the Minister just prior to Christmas.

As from [the] 2015-16 financial year, the funding from the State Government will no longer be forthcoming," he said.

"We can't survive without the State Government funding.

The universities, the City Council do a tremendous job in the contributions that they make but we need to make up something like $1.6 million in funding the State Government gives us per year." Mr Spurr says Education Adelaide has helped to turn the city into a national hub for higher education.

He says the city has a lot to lose if international students decide to head elsewhere.

"There's been a tremendous increase and everyone's seen the impact of international students, not only on the economic fabric of the city and the state but also the social and cultural fabric of South Australia and particularly of Adelaide itself," he said.

Deputy Opposition Leader Steven Marshall agrees Adelaide benefits from its population of international students.

"Although we are always looking for the Government to cut the deficit that they've got, we'd rather them attack wasteful spending rather than spending that is actually used to grow our economy here in South Australia," he said.

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