A BID to force the release of government documents showing how deregulation might push up university fees has again been blocked — in part because they have been found factually incorrect.
Some of the documents “could not be treated as fact”, said a finding rejecting a Freedom of Information appeal.
The Administrative Appeal Tribunal accepted the documents, including advice to Education Minister Christopher Pyne from his department, “would influence the pricing of course fees in a deregulated higher education market”.
They would tip off universities as to how much they could charge for courses, if the Government was able to get its controversial higher education funding changes through the Senate.
But the AAT finding also acknowledged the information would be of general public interest as it would “reveal some of the background or contextual information that has informed the Government’s decision-making in this area”.
And it found: “The disclosure of the documents would inform debate on the issue of higher education reform, which is a matter of public importance.”
But it refused to make them public because, in part, they were not worth much as “accuracy at an individual level must be very low”.
“They were the Department’s thinking processes,” the Administrative Appeals Tribunal has ruled, apparently dismissing the documents’ importance.