Council News - Meeting: 13 February 2020

6 March 2020

Recent critical incidents 

Following an unprecedented summer of critical incidents directly impacting the University, which included extensive damage being caused to the RC Mills Room and dozens of other buildings on campus by the hailstorm of 20 January 2020, Council met off-campus at the Hyatt Hotel for its first formal meeting of the year and its annual Planning Days. 

Council noted that while the bushfires were now mostly extinguished and the smoke almost gone, the effect of these events - plus the new threat of the coronavirus - have presented significant and longer term challenges for staff and students, and that these matters continue to be managed as priorities for the University.  

Council also acknowledged and thanked the University leadership team and the entire ANU community for its magnificent response to such challenging and confronting events. 


Council unanimously reappointed Professor Brian Schmidt AC as Vice-Chancellor for a second five-year term, from 1 January 2021 to 31 December 2025. 

Vice-Chancellor's Report

Council considered a detailed report prepared by the Vice-Chancellor focusing on senior staff appointments, the Senior Management Group (SMG) Retreat, the World Economic Forum in Davos and the growing impact and response to the coronavirus.

Council also noted that approximately 900 staff gathered on 7 February 2020 to hear the State of the University Address. 

Corporate Plan 2020

Council approved the ANU Strategic Plan 2020-2023 - which serves as the Corporate Plan 2020 - as required by the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013, and authorised its transfer to the relevant Ministers, and its publication. 

Chair - Academic Board

On the recommendation of the Vice-Chancellor and in consultation with the Academic Board, Council appointed Professor Joan Leach as the new Chair of the Academic Board for two years, from 15 February 2020.  Outgoing Chair, Professor Jacqueline Lo, was acknowledged for her tremendous service over the past fours years and wished every success following her appointment to the University of Adelaide as the Pro Vice-Chancellor (International).  

ANU Council Resolution - Climate Change

Council recognised the urgency of action required to address Climate Change and, accordingly, passed the following resolution:

Other matters

Council also considered a range of other significant matters, including: the Student Safety Report, Staff Work Heath and Safety Report, the Voice Survey Action Plan and summaries of Council Committee and Academic Board activity since the 6 December 2019 Council meeting.        

Council Planning Days

Following the meeting, Council continued with its annual Planning Days, where it discussed in detail the following:

  • Strategic Plan and planning to 2025
  • Research - driving excellence
  • ANU Story - growing our profile
  • International strategy
  • Digital strategy

At the conclusion of the Planning Days, a range of action items and reporting milestones for 2020 were agreed.      

Next Meeting

Council next meets in the RC Mills Room, Chancelry, Acton Campus on Friday 3 April 2020.

The Hon Julie Bishop