Budget 2016: University fees are still a mystery
Students must wait to learn of their fate.
It was very widely assumed that the 2016 Budget would include a fresh set of proposals to increase fees for university students. The existing budget contains an inherited set of $2 billion savings from controversial "Higher Education Reform" changes proposed in the 2014 Budget, even though none of them successfully passed through Parliament.
However, no such changes were forthcoming; university students and fees did not get a single mention in the Budget speech.
Given the universal assumption that there will be an election called for 2 July, we might reasonably expect that some of those policies will be announced once an election is officially happening. But there are no official proposals in the 2016 Budget itself. On the official Budget site, you can't add "Education" to your list of "Additional interests".
While full-scale deregulation 2014-style is apparently off the table, the Government is exploring a proposal that would require students to pay up to 50% of their course costs, up from 40% currently. But any such change wouldn't happen before 1 July 2018. "The Government will delay the implementation of the higher education reforms announced in the 2014‑15 Budget and the 2014‑15 MYEFO by an additional year to undertake further consultation." the papers note. "Higher education funding arrangements for 2017 will be in line with currently legislated arrangements."