The Government is being accused of a “sneaky” shifting of the goalposts on one of its flagship policies, as Budget documents reveal a major change in focus for the fees-free study policy.
Documents from this year’s Budget reveal a stark shift in the way the Government measures the success of the policy, which provides tertiary students with a year of free study.
The scheme was a cornerstone of Labour’s 2017 election campaign.
In 2018 and 2019, the performance measure for the scheme – how the Government measured the policy’s success – was: “The percentage increase in first time domestic learners (including industry training) at level 3 and above”.
In other words, how many new students went from high school into tertiary training, or university.
But, according to Budget 2020, that focus has been scrapped in lieu of a purely financial goal.
Documents show the performance measure is now: “Average fees-free payment per learner for first year of education.”
That average fee is “at least $5,759” – meaning the Government rates the performance of the policy a success based on how much money is given out.
This massively expensive election bribe didn’t lead to any increase in enrolments. They promised it would. That was the official measure of success.
So having failed to achieve the goal of the policy, they have given the policy a new goal – the more money we give out, the more successful the policy is deemed!