On the 17 April 2020, Vice-Chancellor Brian Schmidt announced to staff that most construction will be ceased on campus. This comes as a response to the COVID-19 pandemic, as a way to mitigate the significant financial impact it is having on the University during its closure.
Schmidt claims that the economic disruption that the COVID-19 pandemic will have on the University is measured in the hundreds of millions of dollars. Despite this figure, the University has implemented measures to ensure that the ANU remains in a financially capable position to operate through Semester 1 and to meet existing obligations. He states that the University is “balancing short-term needs with longevity and future financial security.”
Schmidt announced that capital works will be paused. This includes a six month pause on the new student accommodation project that recently commenced. Other projects that had not yet begun have also been paused. Developments that are near completion, however, will continue. Alongside pausing construction, the savings from the 2020 travel budget have been locked in, and recruitment of most new staff has ceased until the University is in a better position to take new people on.
Schmidt assures that these decisions have not been made lightly, and that they have been made in the best interests of the University and its community.