Shannon Willoughby

From the Executive Director’s Desk – March 2020

Liz Day News

Dear colleagues,

Today the Premier the Hon. Annastacia Palaszczuk announced a $4 billion COVID-19 package which included $2.5 billion in assistance for workers and industry including a 2-month refund on payroll tax for eligible businesses as well as a 3-month payroll tax holiday, as well as the deferment for all payroll tax payments for 2020.

There have been numerous new restrictions introduced to combat COVID-19 introduced in recent days, including:

  • Queensland border restrictions – from midnight Wednesday 26 March, anyone who arrives in Queensland from overseas or interstate will have to self-isolate for 14 days.
  • Australian border restrictions – from 9.00pm 20 March, only Australians, permanent residents and their immediate relatives have been permitted entry from international destinations.
  • Restrictions on non-essential services – access to the licensed area in pubs and clubs, theatres, gymnasiums, indoor sporting facilities and other non-essential service providers ceased at midday, 23 March. Cafes and restaurants are allowed to provide takeaway food only.

These restrictions will impact many institutions, students and provider businesses.

The Federal Government has introduced stimulus measures to assist businesses through these challenging times, and has flagged some temporary work relaxations for international students which can be referenced at Home Affairs.

We are also continuing to provide 24/7 support to our students through the 1800QSTUDY hotline and www.studyqueensland.qld.gov.au.

Be assured that we are advocating for the sector. We continue to outline the unique impacts affecting the international education and training community in Queensland.

Lastly, I want to highlight a rare positive story for Queensland from the weekend. And it is extremely heartening that it involves one of our members within the international education and training community.

As you most likely know, our friends at The University of Queensland’s (UQ) School of Chemistry and Molecular Biosciences have been working on developing a vaccine for COVID-19. They are the only institution in Australia working with the Oslo-based Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) on this cause, and 1 of only 6 globally taking part in the initiative.

Through the Queensland Government’s Advance Queensland Strategy, the researchers received $10 million in funding over the weekend to fast-track a vaccine. The financial injection adds to $3 million received from the Federal Government and $3.5 million from the Paul Ramsay Foundation.

Watch the recorded live update here.

At a time when study, research and relationships have been disrupted – and the spread of COVID-19 changes our lives – there is a beacon of hope in the battle against COVID-19, and it is emanating from Queensland. I am sure I speak for all of us when I wish the team at UQ all the best on this global stage – simply amazing work and uplifting at a time when we most need it.

As always, please reach out to myself or the team.

Shannon Willoughby
Executive Director, Study Queensland