Less please: Uni Melbourne needs to reduce spending by $250m this year

VC Duncan Maskell told staff yesterday that the university has reduced spending by $360m, which was a “fantastic achievement,” now he wants another one

“The university remains severely challenged financially and continues to operate under conditions of extreme uncertainty,” he stated in a message to staff, reporting a “break-even” surplus of $8m.

And so, the university executive requires $252m more in savings in ‘21, due to the continuing impact of the loss of international students, this year and next. Cuts are already incorporated into operating unit budgets.

“I am personally unhappy at the fact that we have to make changes of this nature, that can disrupt our morale and our sense of what seems right, but I also have a responsibility to protect the sustainability of the institution which should properly outlive us all to serve future generations,” the vice chancellor said.

He is also made happy by the prospect of “more of our students and more staff returning to our campuses” for the start of first semester.

But not quite as many staff as there were at the beginning of the last one. However the VC states that the overall number of jobs lost and to be lost will be under 450, which is less than last year’s best estimate and “many as half of these being voluntary.”