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 Award scholarships are provided to individuals in developing countries to undertake full-time undergraduate or postgraduate study at participating Australian universities, TAFE and other vocational education and training institutions. Recipients are provided with benefits including full tuition fees, return travel, health cover, contributions to living expenses and preparatory training. In 2018–19, the Australian Government offered 3,161 awards to individuals from over 55 countries at a cost of $290.5 million. Approximately one-third of funding was allocated to DFAT’s overseas posts to determine priority areas, with the remaining proportion determined centrally by DFAT.

The audit would provide assurance that the award of scholarships is transparent and aligned with Australia’s strategic objectives, and that the outcomes of the program are being appropriately measured.