In an email sent to staff and students today, Vice-Chancellor Brian Schmidt revealed how significant the turbulence of this year has been on the ANU’s financial stability. This comes as a result not just of the COVID-19 pandemic, he said, but also costs incurred from the summer’s intense bushfires and the extremely destructive hailstorm that occurred just prior to the commencement of Semester 1. Schmidt outlined the impacts of both the lost revenue and increased spending in 2020, resulting in a gap of approximately $225 million from predictions going into the year.
Despite a drop in cost incurred as a result of decreased university activity, a further $100 million in savings is still required to balance the 2020 budget. He also noted that the university will require a drop in spending of at least $150 million a year until 2022 and likely beyond. The first of these cost saving measures, Schmidt said, would be a reduction in salaries, one of the university’s largest expenses. This would involve a 10% cut to salaries for the members of the ANU Senior Management Group for the second half of 2020, and a 20% cut to his own salary. Schmidt also advised students of a scheduled pay rise for staff in July and opened himself up to feedback from students as to whether or not they thought it advisable to take on such an additional cost. Similarly, he highlighted the university’s desire to avoid involuntary redundancies and requested feedback on how best to create and implement a voluntary separation scheme. This can be done here and all students are encouraged to attend the staff forum tomorrow to tender their ideas.
The Vice-Chancellor concluded by thanking the ANU community for all that they have done in remaining strong in the face of adversity and urged them above all to focus on their mission.