This audit would assess the effectiveness of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade’s (DFAT’s) management and administration of the Australia Awards program.

Australia Awards scholarships are long-term awards provided to individuals in developing countries to undertake full-time undergraduate or postgraduate study at participating Australian universities and TAFE institutions. Recipients are provided with benefits including full tuition fees, return travel, health cover, contributions to living expenses, and preparatory training.

The 2018–19 budget for the program was $320 million, with approximately one-third of this budget allocated to individual posts to determine priority areas (e.g. students from Papua New Guinea looking to study law and justice), and the remaining proportion determined centrally by DFAT. In 2017–18, the department supported 5100 continuing students and offered 4031 new scholarships to applicants from over 60 developing countries. This audit would provide assurance that monies are being granted in a manner that is transparent and aligns with Australia’s strategic objectives and international interests.