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COMMUNITY               SERVICES              COMMITTEE                               Agenda Item 5.2

                                                                                   11 December 2007

Division       Community and Culture

Presenter      Russell Hopkins, Manager Families, Children and Youth


1.   To report on the possibility and costs of holding a Lord Mayor’s Welcome to International
     Students event in April 2008.

Recommendation from Management

2.   That the Community Services Committee:

      2.1    note the costs of a Lord Mayor’s Welcome to International Students has been estimated at
             approximately $50, 000, as detailed in Attachment 1;

      2.2    note the Lord Mayor’s Welcome to International Students event would:

               2.2.1   aim to recognise and celebrate the contribution international students make to the
                       social and cultural life of the city, and formally welcome new international
                       students to the city; and

               2.2.2   include the establishment of a working committee for the event that would
                       involve international student representatives from educational providers and
                       international student organisations to ensure their support of and contribution to
                       the event.

      2.3    recommend to Council that an amount of $50,000 be allocated as an authorised over
             expenditure within the 2007/2008 budget to undertake a Lord Mayor’s Welcome to
             International Students event as outlined in this report.

Key Issues

3.   On 9 October 2007, the Community Services Committee considered a report on the needs of
     International Students in the City of Melbourne and requested in part that:

            “management explore the possibility and costs of holding a Lord Mayor’s Welcome to
            International Students event in April 2008”.
                                         Page 2 of 7

4.    A number of international student services and organisations have been contacted regarding the
      viability of holding an event for international students in April 2008 in relation to scheduled
      academic dates for examinations and study breaks. The mid-semester Easter break in 2008 for all
      of the major universities occurs from Friday 21 March to Sunday 31 March 2008, followed by
      examinations starting in early June 2008. Accordingly, April is considered to be the most
      opportune time for such an event.

5.    Feedback has also been received regarding the timing of a welcome event at the beginning of the
      year as a means of welcoming and orientating newly arrived international students to the
      municipality. In general, feedback has suggested that the beginning of the year is less than ideal as
      the students are still settling into accommodation and studies, and often feel that there is
      information overload.

6.    Advice was sought from the Events Melbourne branch regarding the scope and nature of the event.
      It was decided that a “treasure hunt” event would give international students the opportunity to
      interact and get to know each other through working in teams, and also provide them with an
      opportunity to get to know and navigate the city in a formal and structured way.

7.    The event would require international students to navigate the city and is proposed to:

      7.1.   run for approximately four hours from 11am to 3pm on a Sunday in April 2008;
      7.2.   begin at City Square and finish at Federation Square;
      7.3.   involve international students working in teams to find clues hidden across the Central
             Business District (CBD) at 20 key locations;
      7.4.   involve international students being given a ‘City of Melbourne Passport’ which contains a
             map of the CBD, a clue sheet and instructions on how to complete the passport;
      7.5.   require students to complete the passport by answering the twenty clues and entering the
             answers in the spaces provided into the passport;
      7.6.   include spot prizes; and
      7.7.   culminate in a formal welcome to students at Federation Square by the Lord Mayor John So,
             followed by an event with a popular youth band.
8.    A number of key international student organisations and student support services (for example the
      National Liaison Committee, RMIT International Student Services, Carrick Institute and University
      of Melbourne) have already expressed interest in being involved in a working committee for the
      event and are supportive of an event occurring in 2008.

Time Frame
9.    The event would be held in April 2008 and would occur in the 2007/2008 financial year.

Relation to Council Policy
10.   City Plan 2010 and the new report ‘Melbourne – Australia’s Knowledge Capital’ acknowledges the
      importance of the tertiary education sector to the future of Melbourne as a knowledge city and
      recognises the significant contribution that international and domestic students make to the social
      and cultural life of the city.

11.   Other Council policies that also support international students include: A City of Young People
      2005 – 2009 and the Multicultural Policy 2005 – 2009. Both of these policies outline Council’s
      vision to improve health and well-being outcomes for this population group, as well as
      opportunities for international students to participate and engage in the life of the city.

                                            Page 3 of 7


12.     In 2006/2007, a study was undertaken into the needs of international students as part of the City of
        Melbourne’s inaugural ‘Altitude Learning to Lead’ Program (refer Attachment 1). The study
        involved consultations with Victorian Government agencies, universities, accommodation
        providers, Victoria Police, alumni, current international students and Council Officers who have
        contact with international students as part of their role.

13.     In October 2006, the Continuous Improvement branch undertook a major online survey with over
        1,400 international students from a wide range of tertiary institutions, with the majority studying at
        the University of Melbourne. The online research examined factors that impacted on decisions to
        study in Melbourne and their experiences during the duration of their stay.

14.     Feedback has been sought on the concept from a range of international student bodies, who are
        very supportive of the proposal.

Government Relations
15.     The City of Melbourne is represented on the International Student Welfare Reference Group
        facilitated by the Federal Department of Immigration and Citizenship to discuss current and
        emerging needs and issues of international students.

16.     The City of Melbourne is represented on the Victorian International Education Consultative Group
        facilitated by the Higher Education division of the Department of Innovation, Industry and
        Regional Development.

17.     There are many opportunities presented by the Young People’s Policy, the Multicultural Policy and
        City Plan 2010 to work with State and Federal Governments in relation to the needs of
        international students. Council will continue to respond to and influence Federal and State
        guidelines in relation to international students.


18.     A Lord Mayor’s Welcome to International Students event as outlined in this report is estimated to
        cost $50,000. Funding for such an event is not included within the 2007/2008 budget.


19.     The recommendation made in this report is consistent with the powers and functions of Council.


20.     Programs and services for international students support the City of Melbourne’s ongoing
        commitment to sustainability. This includes:

        20.1. Inclusive and Engaging City by helping to build social capital, skills and civic engagement,
              and foster international students’ access to social support services, and opportunities to
              participate and engage in the life of the city;
        20.2. Connected and Accessible City through international partnerships including Sister Cities;
        20.3. Innovative and Vital City by fostering international students capacity to engage in
              democratic, decision-making and processes in ways that enhance skills and knowledge of
              local government and increase participation; and
        20.4. Economic City by ensuring social equity, sustainable communities and international students
              to have opportunities to contribute and benefit from the economic prosperity of the city.

                                           Page 4 of 7


21.    A City of Young People – Young People’s Policy: 2005 – 2009 was endorsed by Council in June
       2005 and provides a platform over a four year period to enhance the status and wellbeing of young
       people in the City of Melbourne. The policy focuses on achieving this vision by working
       according to four key themes: participation, leadership, support and celebration. These four themes
       enable the development of synergies across Council strategies for different youth population
       groups within the City of Melbourne.

22.    The Needs of International Students in the City of Melbourne Report identified a number of key
       issues for international students in the City of Melbourne that included:

       22.1. cultural barriers;
       22.2. social isolation and loneliness;
       22.3. safety;
       22.4. understanding and accessing Australia’s health, welfare and legal systems;
       22.5. accessing safe and affordable housing, and employment; and
       22.6. accessing public transport concession.

23.    On 9 September 2006, the inaugural Lord Mayor’s Welcome to International Students event was
       held to provide international students with the opportunity to meet each other and to recognise the
       contribution they make to the cultural and social life of the city. This event was held in the
       Melbourne Town Hall and included cultural performances, information stalls and a formal
       welcome from the Lord Mayor John So. Over 2,000 international students attended the event and
       over sixty international students volunteered on the day to assist in the running of the event. The
       feedback from international students, student organisations and tertiary institutions was positive
       and many were keen to be involved in the organisation of a future event. However, the evaluation
       of the event also indicated that it was too long, too static and did not introduce the international
       students to the City more broadly.

24.    As part of the preparation for the 2007/2008 budget, officers sought funding for staff and
       programming to address documented issues related to International Students. However, this bid
       was unsuccessful within the budget deliberations.


25.    The City of Melbourne recognises that international students make an important contribution to the
       culture and lifestyle of Melbourne as well as to Victorian regional centres. Victoria’s eight
       universities within the city are seen as an integral part of the urban economy and community and
       make a substantial contribution to Victoria as a whole.

26.    In 2005, there were 73,427 students in total who had enrolled in higher education institutions in the
       City of Melbourne. 54,734 (75 percent) were domestic students (ie defined as Australian citizens,
       New Zealand Citizens and those that hold permanent resident visas) and 18,693 (25 percent) were
       international students. Of these, 23,133 higher education students were living in the City of
       Melbourne representing 35 percent of the total City of Melbourne residential population, made up
       of 11,829 international students (comprising nearly 20 percent of the residential population), and
       11,304 domestic students.

1.     Estimated Costs
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                                                                                 Attachment 1
                                                                               Agenda Item 5.2
                                                                 Community Services Committee
                                                                            11 December 2007


BUDGET ITEM                                            COST
City Square Stage and Audio System                     $5,000
Federation Square and Audio System                     $5,000
Printing and Marketing Costs                           $10,000
Prizes                                                 $3,000
Performers                                             $10,000
Marque Hire (City Square, Federation Square and        $2,000
20 sites)
Staffing (Event and project management; stage          $15,000
management; event director, security and site staff)
                            ESTIMATED TOTAL            $50,000

                                           Page 6 of 7
                                                                                   Agenda Item 5.2
                                                                     Community Services Committee
                                                                                11 December 2007



The 2007/08 budget does not include funding for this event. Should the recommendation be
approved this will result in an unfavourable outcome against the budgeted financial operating
performance and reduce the council’s cash reserves.

Joe Groher
Manager Financial Services
                                             Page 7 of 7
                                                                                      Agenda Item 5.2
                                                                        Community Services Committee
                                                                                   11 December 2007



The subject matter of the report together with the recommendation made are within the functions and
powers of the Council.

Section 3C of the Local Government Act 1989 (“Act”) provides that:

    “The primary objective of a Council is to endeavour to achieve the best outcomes for the local
    community having regard to the long terms and cumulative effects of decisions.”

Section 3C(2) of the Act states that in seeking to achieve its primary objective, facilitating objectives
that Council must have regard to include:

    “(c) to improve the overall quality of life of people in the local community,


    (e) ensure that services and facilities provided by the Council are accessible and equitable.”

Kim Wood
Manager Legal Services

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