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Marketing or Rorting? Australian Universities and TAFE $300 million for international travel?

International focus leaves unis exposed…. as the sector is braced for a drop in international student numbers following the Rudd government’s tighter visa and immigration rules, the sector’s dependence on international fees is only increasing….

…. The Auditor-General noted that the growing importance of international fee revenue “increases the exposure for both universities and TAFEs to the increasingly competitive market for international students”…

…Employee-related costs rose by $207m, or 7 per cent, representing 56 per cent of expenditure. The report also calls on universities and TAFEs to tighten up monitoring of travel spending that amounted to $120m last year. It found that most universities did not set upper limits on the cost of accommodation while travelling.

The international activity that hath no name… “international travel rorting”, total for Australian universities and TAFE would be $AUD300 million? In the age of ICT, Skype, internet based promotions and marketing where all prospective candidates can be found, not to forget the best marketing is word of mouth and managing the onshore student experience, the sector continues to see travel as a right, bonus or perk of the job, why?

Time for evaluation of international marketing and work requirements i.e. travel plans and the endless quest for activity requiring travel at public expense?

For related blogs see:

Australian International Education “Marketing or Rorting”?

3 Responses to “Marketing or Rorting? Australian Universities and TAFE $300 million for international travel?”

  1. like this….

  2. Does this report discriminate between travel for marketing and travel for research? Many academics travel to conferences and to collaborate with colleagues overseas. This travel is often funded out of their research funds – from ARC and other sources. As one recipient of such funds I am very careful in my use of it for travel. I minimize the costs of travel by

    1. only buying economy class airfares – indeed I’m constrained to do so by my university which imposes no such constraints on its higher level professional staff.

    2. staying mostly with friends and colleagues rather than at hotels

    3. staying in relatively cheap hotels when 2. is not available

    4. taking (as prescribed by my Faculty) a much lower daily allowance than the ATO allows.

    I met up with a mid-level member of the professional staff of my university recently while overseas. That person was on full ATO daily allowance, stayed at a very upmarket hotel, and travelled business class – on a study tour!

    To us researchers, this research funding is precious and hard-won; we try not to waste it. If only our international marketing personnel were equally frugal!

  3. Assume yes, genuine research is different, especially when it is part of a plan and process. Unfortunately one has not seen much in the way of clear planning and process regarding “marketing” except objective of making (international) travel plans….


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