Rivers of gold run dry at Monash U

VC Margaret Gardner tell staff the university made a $113m loss last year

It’s not so bad when subsidiaries are added ($78m), however it is still a shocker compared to the $305m (university) and $410m (group) surplus in ’21 and a $259 operating surplus in 2020.

But the shocker should not be shocking  – Professor Gardner long ago warned of estimates of a $149m deficit in 2022 and a further 73m in ‘23, “as lower numbers of students in 2020 and 2021 work through the system,” (CMM February 8 2021).

“We did not escape the impact on staff, students, education, research and our financial health from the years 2020 through 2022, when COVID restricted what we could do and the number of students from around the world who came to our campuses,” she told staff Friday.

The VC added that, “the announcement of deficits is not and will not be the precursor to the university undertaking planned reduction in staff numbers” and that earlier surpluses would continue to be spent, “in particular, we will provide increases to staff salaries and gradually increase staff numbers, including improving security of employment.”

But she warned, “we must be able to move from deficit to surplus by the end of this year or the future quality of the university will suffer,” – which may be a message sent in the context of enterprise bargaining, a vote by union members on industrial action ends today.