SRC Case Study - Opal Concessions UTSSA advocates for opal card concessions for all students

Written by Bridie O'Kelly

SRC Case Study - Opal Concessions


The University of Sydney Student Representative Council and Postgraduate Representative Association have launched a petition with the New South Wales Legislative Assembly seeking transport concessions to be made available to all students in NSW, including part-time and international students. 

In NSW, only full-time domestic students enrolled in accredited studies with higher education providers or Vocational Education and Training courses are eligible for concession fares. 


NSW is currently the only state in Australia that does not offer travel concessions to international students. In Victoria, international undergraduate students can buy a Travel Pass that can save $1,034 a year, according to Public Transport Victoria. Full-time international students studying in Queensland can access a 50% concession fare. 

UTS International Students Officer Raghav Motani shares how Opal Card concessions would help ease the financial burden for international students.

“International students’ finances are being squeezed by growing living expenses, rising tuition, and skyrocketing food prices brought on by inflation. Relying on money from overseas to make ends meet becomes more difficult for people without part-time jobs because foreign exchange rates can fluctuate wildly. It’s a challenging act with money that affects the quality of life and overall budget planning” says Motani. 

He continues, “If the Opal Concessions were available to overseas students, it would help ease the financial burden. International students are footing twice as much in travel costs as Australian full-time students…Let’s speak up, get our petition heard in parliament, and work towards a more equitable and inclusive system that considers the financial difficulties international students in NSW face”. 

UTS Postgraduate Students Officer Laura Currie shared how Opal Card concessions would help make education accessible for every group of students. 

“I’m currently about to switch to a part-time Ph.D., and although this is the best choice for me personally, a lot of things detrimentally change when you drop down. This includes losing student concession for opal. I used to live on the Central Coast and opal used to be $8 one way and this was costly. However, the concession card cuts by half which will be a significant help to students who are already struggling with money and time” says Currie.

She continues, “Opal concessions should be a basic right for students, and we should be able to not worry about significant costs to catch public transport to and from the university, ultimately making education accessible for every group of students”. 


The deadline for the petition is March 7, 2024. Whatever the outcome of the petition is, we hope that the campaign will continue to pursue a formal dialogue with the policymakers. 

You can sign the petition here: