Sat, Nov 16, 2013 - Page 8 News List

Cultural nomads boost Australia

By Peter MacGregor

There is a huge expense and risk for a Taiwanese family in sending a child to Australia.

The investment targets one individual instead of being spread to benefit all family members. The economic return is usually never accounted. The emotional loss and deprivation to extended family, particularly grandparents, has all too often been ignored due to inadequate briefing at the initiation of the departure plans, and lack of counseling or assistance in maintaining filial communication after arrival.

From a national perspective in earning foreign currency, Australia has had everything to gain at the expense of hard-working Taiwanese families. A financial controller of a major Melbourne company some time ago brought to my attention a study which claimed that $1 earned in foreign exchange prompted a $19 stimulus to the domestic economy of a developed national economy.

During the years 1990 to 2010, each student landed in Australia represented a A$25,000 to A$45,000 (US$23,300 to US$42,000) input per year into the economy. In my professional role as parent-appointed guardian and later principal of an English-language school with an ever-increasing income by cooperation with offshore agents and Australian schools, we generated for the Australian economy from A$1.25 million to A$12.25 million of foreign-exchange income.

I estimate that the contribution from Taiwanese families progressively fell from 90 percent to 5 percent of total business, the decline being due to recruitment moving to other countries.

Yet Taiwan provided a total of A$43 million over the 20 years as the first year of arrival accumulated new business, but as the students’ families provided an average of four years’ living expenses plus student fees, the ultimate sum total would have been fourfold: A$172 million. Given the 1:19 stimulus ratio, the Australian domestic economic beneficial impact could be as much as A$3.2 billion.

Thank you, Taiwan.

Peter MacGregor is a vocational learning and ESL consultant.

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