Australian National University cops $225 million financial hit due to coronavirus crisis

The ANU will earn $150 million less than expected and spend $75 million more than it planned to this year. Picture: Shutterstock
The ANU will earn $150 million less than expected and spend $75 million more than it planned to this year. Picture: Shutterstock

The Australian National University is finalising its plans to deal with the $225 million financial hit from the pandemic.

The period of wide consultation with the main union and other groups has just closed.

Vice-chancellor Brian Schmidt told staff that on Thursday "we will release a paper which summarises the suggestions and questions we received, as well as which options we're exploring and which options we may be unable to pursue".

Next week, the university will then make public exactly what it intends to do.

The union at the university said that jobs should not be the first line of cost-saving.

"Humans should be standing in front of a class, not standing in a dole queue," Dr Cathy Day, secretary of the ACT division of the National Tertiary Education Union said. "Throwing people out of work is a disregard for them as human beings."

Professor Schmidt has said that the ANU would earn $150 million less than expected and spend $75 million more than planned as a result of the health crisis.

ANU vice-chancellor Professor Brian Schmidt. Picture: Karleen Minney

ANU vice-chancellor Professor Brian Schmidt. Picture: Karleen Minney

Big capital spending projects have been deferred and borrowing increased, he said.

"But even after all of this, we need to find an additional $100 million in savings this year."

ANU senior management have taken pay cuts of 10 to 20 per cent.

Staff have deferred a pay rise and are discussing offering other wage-saving measures to head off redundancies.

The union argues that the ANU is one of the few Australian universities which has a large cash reserve and that could be reduced.

The union's Dr Day said that the surplus amounted to $250 million. "They keep telling us that's for a rainy day.

"Well, it's pouring at the moment," she said.

This story ANU draws up plans to cope with $225m cash hit from COVID-19 first appeared on The Canberra Times.

Comments