Today, Vice Chancellor Brian Schmidt announced the post-pandemic Recovery Plan for the ANU. To ensure the sustainability of the University, it was announced that the ANU must achieve a reduction in expenditure of $103 million per year until 2023.
Schmidt announced that to do so, the ANU will need to reduce staff numbers. This includes voluntary separations and redundancies of staff, requiring a further reduction of 215 positions from now until mid-2021, in addition to the 250 voluntary separations that have already taken place. In July this year, the ANU deferred pay increases which saved $13.5 million. This money has been put towards keeping 90 positions at the ANU.
To save the $103 million, the ANU must cut down on costs not only related to staffing, but will limit the use of consultants and contractors, improve the procurement of goods and services and reduce costs related to printing and online documentation. It was also announced that when travel resumes, this will be limited and the University will negotiate better rates on airlines and travel.
The University will aim to finish 2020 “with cash reserves no lower than $250 million, to ensure we have sufficient cash to cover three months operational expenditure going into the uncertainties of 2021”. To meet this target, the ANU will reduce operational expenditure by $71 million, utilise debt facilities of $200 million to find some of the necessary CAPEX and one-off separation costs and use some of the cash reserves.
Schmidt has claimed that the ANU has an imperative role to play in the post-COVID reconstruction of Australia, saying that “we have major responsibilities, both to ANU and to the nation, in the years ahead.”
ANUSA has condemned the proposed job-cuts, calling for the Federal Government to fund the University sector and encourages students to “stand in solidarity with staff who are facing job losses.”