Mr HIBBINS to ask the Minister for Public Transport — Will the Minister expand eligibility for public transport concession fares to post-graduate and international students.
I am informed that, as at the date the question was raised:
Public transport concessions are provided to allow Victorians access to jobs and services. Around 35-40 per cent of public transport customers are entitled to, and use, concession fares.
Public transport fares in Victoria generally provide exceptional value for all customers. The maximum fare a full fare customer will pay for a day's travel across Melbourne is $7.52. Periodical passes provide exceptional value for as low as $4.62 per day (based on a Zone 1+2 70 day pass). Concession fares are 50 per cent of a full fare.
Reflecting the contribution international students make to Victoria, the Victorian Government recently launched the International Undergraduate Student Education pass (iUSEpass) which provides eligible international students with discounted travel. The Government recognises that public transport costs for many students are significant, so we supported the new initiative to provide some extra help, making Victoria an even more attractive place to study. The iUSEpass provides travel at 50 per cent of a full fare annual pass and is co-funded by partner institutions.
The longstanding exclusion of postgraduate students from the concession fare policy reflects the fact that a greater proportion of postgraduate students are working full time and may not require additional financial support. Postgraduate students with low incomes that meet the eligibility criteria for government support through Centrelink can receive a Low Income Health Care Card. This card entitles the postgraduate student to public transport concession fares.
Concession fares are available to international exchange students, students with refugee status and students who receive an Australian Awards Scholarship.