ANUSA 2023 End of Year Report reveals increased demands for welfare services

Photography by Rose Dixon-Campbell.

The ANU Student Association’s  recently released 2023 End of Year Report highlights the increasing student demands for accommodation and welfare services, as students continue to bear the brunt of the cost of living crisis. 

Amongst other things, the report revealed record usages of ANUSA’s welfare services including clubs, the Brian Kenyon Student Space and financial grants. 

The report noted, “BKSS usage rose to an all time high this year.” The BKSS offers regular free breakfast to students, affordable snacks and dinner, although the latter are currently suspended. Beyond meals, the building also offers a dedicated student space and free contraceptives. Last year, Queer* Department supplied free gender-affirming gear was distributed at the BKSS along with free menstrual products.

2024 ANUSA Treasurer Will Burfoot (he/him) told Woroni “the BKSS is a key component of ANUSA’s service delivery to students and the current budget for 2024, passed at the last Ordinary General Meeting of 2023, will see an increase to the BKSS of $10,000.” 

As for whether any of the other services will be subject to financial changes,  Burfoot explained, “We are carefully assessing all of our services and the final financial decision is of course to be made by students at our Ordinary General Meetings, the first of which is in early March.”

In 2023, clubs also saw a significant increase in funding, with the 2023 report noting that it was the “biggest ever spend on Clubs, with $200,000 spent.” The largest expenditure went to supporting ordinary club events. The maximum grant for ordinary club events depends on attendance. 

Despite uptakes in the provision of student food services, ANUSA saw a marked decrease in its overall student financial assistance this year. In their 2022 End of Year Report, it was reported that student assistance covered 1,648 successful grant and program applications with $329,571 total financial assistance provided to students. 

However in ANUSA’s more recent 2023 End of Year Report, there were 999 total successful grant and program applications with $105,898 total financial assistance provided. 

Burfoot attributed the decrease in student financial assistance to a return to pre-COVID-19 pandemic funding as “grant deliveries over [the years 2020, 2021 and 2022] were substantially higher owing to the pandemic and the associated increase in funding provided by the ANU and as a reprioritising based on student needs… As we reached the end of the additional COVID funding we reverted back to our standard allocation.”

 Despite this decrease in student financial assistance, the Report revealed an “overall increase in total expenditure” in 2023, as a result of the “expansion of [ANUSA’s] services to encompass all ANU students, including postgraduates” unlike previous years. 

Former Treasurer Katrina Euijung Ha (she/her) also noted that ANUSA had secured $2.8 million in total, in addition to $446k “for one-off capital expenditures that will be acquitted by the first half of the next year.” Further that “despite the overall increase in total expenditure, ANUSA now stands on a more stable financial footing. We are actively working on ensuring funding for 2024 remains stable as well.”

However, Burfoot explains, “[The Union] of course [has] constraints, a less than ideal SSAF agreement means we cannot aim as high as we were hoping. “ 

For 2024, ANUSA’s SSAF allocation consists of two million in initial baseline funding and an additional one million for funding in return for capital expenditure costs including the Bla(c)k, Indigenous and People of Colour (BIPOC) safe space, upgrades to the BKSS and for the provision of post-graduate services.  

Nonetheless, Burfoot remains optimistic, ”with prudent and pragmatic management of our finances I feel confident students will continue to see ANUSA as THE service provider on campus.”

According to the 2023 SSAF Survey Report, “Providing health or welfare services to students” remains the most important service to students followed closely by access provided to legal services, support for the specific needs of cohorts and accommodation services. 

As such, Burfoot maintains, “We expect to continue to see students engage in our free services in 2024, particularly the postgraduate and HDR cohort where we are seeing strong up-take.”

Disclosure: Woroni is also a recipient of Student Services and Amenities Fee funding. 


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