In an email to all ANU students and staff, Vice-Chancellor Ian Young announced a change in the timeline and procedure of his Financial Repositioning Plan, which had included $40 million of budget cuts. Most notable is the announcement that proposed staff cuts, originally totalling $25 million, will now take place over a longer time period.
Following the close of the consultation period last Friday, Professor Young said he accepted the general concern amongst staff that “the proposed timelines were too ambitious to allow careful consideration of implications” and that there were alternative ways of making savings. He said more savings could be made by “removing administrative duplication and generally improving our business processes”, a process that will take “up to 2 years to complete”.
Other changes include an explicit promise any savings made through “College rationalization” will stay within the Colleges to be re-invested in our education and research” instead of contributing a previously proposed $35m budget surplus and that staff reductions will be primarily through “natural attrition, agreed separations and early retirement” rather than through forced redundancies.
In response to Professor Young’s announcement, ANU Students’ Association President, Dallas Proctor, said: “We are glad that the jobs of our teachers, supervisors, lecturers and tutors are no longer on the line and hope that the VC’s revised processes prove successful in improving quality without making unnecessary educational sacrifices.”
Postgraduate and Research Students’ Asssociation President Areti Metuamate said that he “welcomed the announcement of a more consultative approach” and that “dreaded forced redundancies seem to have been put on the backburner”.
National Tertiary Education Union ACT Secretary, Stephen Darwin told Woroni: “We support the Vice Chancellor’s commitment to explore all processes other than forced redundancy as the basis for any future cost cutting initiatives.”
Professor’s Young’s statement did not specify whether the University still plans to cut $40 million from the budget as originally proposed, or how long the process will now take.