The NSW Legislative Assembly will debate our petition for travel concessions for all students at 4pm, Thursday 9 May 2024.

Join SUPRA at the Public Gallery to witness the debate, or watch it live on NSW Parliament webcast.

Timeline of the struggle for Fair Fares


Then-NSW Premier Nick Greiner’s government oversaw an amendment to the Transport Administration Act 1988, which excluded international students from the state’s Transport Concession Scheme.


Our then-president, Jenny Leong, took the Labor Transport Minister John Watkins to the NSW Civil and Administrative Decisions Tribunal (NCAT).

SUPRA gathered several individual international students into a class, and argued that excluding international students from transport concessions constituted discrimination on the basis of nationality, a subset of discrimination based on race. Our position was upheld by NCAT, and the individual students were awarded compensation for the extra money they had spent on fares during their studies.


The NCAT victory was short-lived. The NSW Transport Administration Act 1988 was amended to exclude it from complying with the Anti-Discrimination Act. As a result, the NSW government did not need to extend the transport concession scheme to international students.


Led by student leader Daniele Fulvi, Bankstown Student Campus Council of Western Sydney University joined the campaign for international students to have access to public transport concessions.


International and domestic students rallied outside the NSW State Labor Party conference on 30 June 2018, calling for ‘an end to the discriminatory policy under which international students are ineligible for student travel concession cards’.

The rally was organised by the Concession Campaign Coalition, a campaign group of students from multiple universities, including University of Sydney, University of NSW, Western Sydney University and University of Technology Sydney.


The Council of Australian Postgraduate Associations (CAPA), in partnership with the Council of International Students Australia (CISA) and National Union of Students (NUS), released a discussion paper outlining the case for international student concessions. The discussion paper was signed by 10 different student representative associations across the state.


Jenny Leong, now the Member for Newtown, brought a bill to the NSW Legislative Assembly. Ms Leong argued that in the context of the global COVID-19 pandemic and associated cost of living crisis, the cost of full-fare travel was simply too much for students to bear. She also highlighted the ongoing racial discrimination caused by excluding international students from any form of travel concession.

After 2 scheduled debates in the NSW Legislative Assembly, the debate was adjourned.


August: Sydney University’s SRC hosted an open meeting to revive the Fair Fares campaign. In the wake of this meeting, SUPRA president Weihong Liang and then-SRC president Lia Perkins committed to reviving the campaign for fair fares for all students.

September–December: Weihong and Lia developed their campaign strategy, including a petition to the NSW Legislative Assembly, and lodged a submission to the review of the Anti-Discrimination Act.

The petition was launched on 7 October 2023.


January–March: SUPRA President Weihong and SRC President Harrison Brennan coordinated a mammoth effort between SRC and SUPRA staff, council and volunteers to collect 20,000 signatures for the petition to NSW parliament. Once a petition has 20,000 signatures it must be debated in the NSW Legislative Assembly.

March: The petition achieved its goal of 20,000 signatures. Parliamentary debate on the petition is scheduled for Thursday 9 May 2024.

– timeline written by Ruijie Zhang.