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Wielding the axe at ANU. $25 million in job cuts!

By johnboy - 26 March 2012 41

ANU’s Vice-Chancellor Ian Young has announced he’s planning to trim his budget by $40 million (or 5% of revenue):

We are not alone in having global and national financial circumstances cut into our bottom line.

Investment returns have declined in recent years. The 2012 budget indicates investment returns will be $30 million less than in 2011. This reduction directly impacts on the funds available to operate the University.

In addition, the significant capital investments made in recent years mean that depreciation costs have increased by approximately $10 million compared with 2011.

A number of these issues were discussed in my 13 December 2011 email to staff on the 2012 University recurrent budget.

These external factors, together with substantial wage increases (4.5 per cent in 2012) and services expenses (increase of $26 million in 2012) have meant that the 2012 budget has a projected surplus of only $14 million, or less than 1.5 per cent of total revenue.

The sector average is 4 per cent, a figure which the Commonwealth monitors as a measure of financial health.

We have now reached a point at which there is no option but to take bold action. If we do not act to reduce spending the University will be unable to invest in excellence, and will suffer a gradual decline in international standing and quality.

To bring things in he’s planning to cut $25 million in staff expenses and $15 million to improve business practices.

What’s Your opinion?


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41 Responses to
Wielding the axe at ANU. $25 million in job cuts!
ThatUniStudent 8:50 am 27 Mar 12

Why don’t they try cutting students services? Whoops, already done that.
How about amalgamating the libraries? Whoops, already tried that.
Or maybe they could just increase the number of International students whom they make more money off of? Whoops, already done that too.
Why don’t they get rid of Aboriginal students who they don’t make any money off of? Whoops, doing that next.
Do we really need cleaners, groundsmen, lecturers, or Ian Young?

NoAddedMSG 8:03 am 27 Mar 12

pink_fit said :

scrap middle management waste such as the joint admin group in the sciences area. God knows how many millions could be saved. And will the management that led the ANU into this precarious position be made accountable? Not on your life!

How is having a single joint admin group across two colleges instead of two separate admin groups wasteful?

pink_fit 10:33 pm 26 Mar 12

scrap middle management waste such as the joint admin group in the sciences area. God knows how many millions could be saved. And will the management that led the ANU into this precarious position be made accountable? Not on your life!

dazzab 9:47 pm 26 Mar 12

And how many $100 million buildings are currently under construction at the ANU? I wonder how they plan on using them with less staff?

m_ratt 8:54 pm 26 Mar 12

I’m no accountant, but two things in the announcement just don’t make sense to me:

“The 2012 budget indicates investment returns will be $30 million less than in 2011.”
Surely the point of the budget is that you put into it what you expect will be the case, not rely on it as the crystal ball for what actually will happen?

“In addition, the significant capital investments made in recent years mean that depreciation costs have increased by approximately $10 million compared with 2011.”
What’s a depreciation cost? There was the cost of the capital investment (in previous FY, with presumably repayments in future FYs), and there may be a future cost of replacement of said infrastructure, but how does the depreciation of an asset actually cost real dollars. Isn’t depreciation used in this context to write off over time the previous expenditure on the asset?

Happy to have someone explain this to me.

urchin 7:10 pm 26 Mar 12

Young is not giving reasons but excuses to cut staff. None of his “logic” holds up.

His comment about the 4.5% pay rise fails (quite deliberately) to take note that ANU staff saw only 2% rises in 09 and 10 and 3.5% in 11–which, if we assume 3% inflation per year, means that at the end of 2012 they will be making slightly less than they were in 09.

That the enterprise agreement comes up for renegotiation soon is no doubt *completely* and *utterly* unrelated to this dramatic (and erratic) announcement that staff will be cut.

That in adopting this strategy he is having a wonderful impact on morale and making it that much more difficult to attract quality staff is, apparently, unimportant…

random 4:25 pm 26 Mar 12

c_c said :

Should they have that expertise in house full time?

It’s valuable to bring consultants in to tell you what you already know, in a way that lets you blame them for unpopular decisions.

EvanJames 3:58 pm 26 Mar 12

Chop71 said :

We have one university who can sponser the Brumbies and one cutting $40 Mil

It is admittedly more profitable to pretend to be a university while in actuality you’re little more than an up-jumped TAFE college.

c_c 3:56 pm 26 Mar 12

I guess it should be put in some perspective though that Monash University had to make over 350, intact closer to 400 staff, redundant a while back due to falling international enrolments. It is true that the whole sector is in trouble. However, this sounds more like bad management.

Chop71 3:48 pm 26 Mar 12

We have one university who can sponser the Brumbies and one cutting $40 Mil

Amazing

c_c 3:33 pm 26 Mar 12

Mothy said :

birder said :

They are hiring consultants to see who they should fire. Does the irony escape them?

Non-ongoing one off expense in order to generate ongoing savings. Where’s the irony birder?

Perhaps that in an institution the size of ANU with as many staff and admin resources as it has, they still have to pay a premium for external advice on their finances… I call that ironic.
Should they have that expertise in house full time?

And how is it one off? Assumedly they will call in external advice for each budget saving they seek.

Mothy 3:13 pm 26 Mar 12

birder said :

They are hiring consultants to see who they should fire. Does the irony escape them?

Non-ongoing one off expense in order to generate ongoing savings. Where’s the irony birder?

dungfungus 2:18 pm 26 Mar 12

First UniSuper, now ANU.

c_c 2:00 pm 26 Mar 12

Spending millions on rebranding the god damn Uni (which after 3 years, they still have two brands side by side everywhere anyway) yet they want to cut staff. Ian Young, you disgraceful excuse for a manager, go back to whatever academic backwater you came from.

The fact you announced an ambitious program not long ago where you openly said you likely wouldn’t reach the targets you set just proves what an unstable, unsafe pair of hands you are for the future of ANU.

birder 1:40 pm 26 Mar 12

They are hiring consultants to see who they should fire. Does the irony escape them?

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