Uni Melbourne warns “approximately” 450 positions will go  

VC Duncan Maskell warns revenue will be down $1bn over three years, which means “our current rate of expenditure is unsustainable”

the cause: “significantly reduced revenue predictions resulting from reduced student enrolments, reductions in research income and reductions in commercial revenue.”

the consequence: “we anticipate that we will lose approximately 450 continuing positions across the university in both the academic and professional workforce”

that’s positions: not necessarily people. CMM asked the university whether “continuing positions” meant full-time equivalents, which can be made up of multiple individuals working part-time. The university responded it is full time equivalent positions, and that, “is an estimate.”

“We’re not yet in a position to confirm how many individuals this will impact … and we are working through plans at a divisional level.  This work will inform the university wide change plan. For the same reasons, we aren’t in a position to confirm the number of casuals and fixed term era who will be affected,” the university stated.

how bad things are: in recent weeks, there has been a push on campus for the university to detail its financial situation. Professor Maskell now points staff to on-line information on how reserves are being used and summarises the situation, “the university will run at a significant financial loss in both 2020 and 2021. We will draw down around $350 million from our reserves to help manage the cash impact of this. We will significantly reduce capital expenditure, with $330 million already deferred in 2020, and we will borrow up to $600 million to assist with managing cash flow.”

But even so, “we expect that towards the end of this year we will be parting with talented friends and colleagues”

what’s next: the review of organisation structure will be run at division level. Consultation with the union will be managed by the chancellery and start next month.

alternatives:  The university previously asked staff to give up a 2.2 per cent enterprise agreement pay rise, which 62 per cent of people voting rejected. It would not have made much difference overall – management estimated it would save $30m (CMM June 10).