VC’s Update – Pay increase and the Universities Accord

02 Dec 2022

Hi everyone,

I am writing this blog to announce some good news for our community - and after a tough couple of years, everyone needs a positive end to their week.

This week, I signed off on an administrative pay increase of 3.5 per cent for all staff covered by the ANU Enterprise Agreement. This will take effect from 2 February 2023 and will be paid on the payday occurring on 16 February 2023. I know that everyone has been feeling the increased pressures by the rise in the cost of living and I hope this increase will alleviate some of the stress being felt. While we continue to negotiate the new ANU Enterprise Agreement, the reality is, the cost of living and those pressures are being felt right now - and so we brought forward this payment to ensure our community is supported. More information about the salary changes from 2 February 2023 can be found on the ANU website for academic, professional and casual staff. 

Additionally, I have approved the annual leave loading payment for the period January to December 2022 to be brought forward (from the end of January 2023) to be included in the payday on 22 December 2022. I know many of you will have family or personal commitments leading into the end of year University shutdown period, and I hope this early payment provides some help to all during what can be a financially challenging time of the year.

With this announcement, I also want to confirm that the official ANU shutdown is from close of business Friday 23 December 2022 and will reopen on Tuesday 3 January 2023. To maximise my break, I'm taking an extra week which, with five days annual leave, gives me 17 consecutive days off (hot tip - if you take the last week of December and the first week of Jan off - so nine days annual will get a break of 23 days!).  It's important to take a break and I'm encouraging my team to take leave and recharge for the year ahead. I hope across campus we can see skeleton teams who are supporting essential services operating the week before and after the shutdown where possible.

I do acknowledge that the shutdown period and this time of year can be a challenging time for some members of our community. Telephone support is available for staff (1800 808 374) or for students (1300 050 327 or text 0488 884 170) and these will continue to operate 24 hours a day during the break, including on public holidays, and I encourage you to access this if you need to. I also encourage you to reach out to friends and colleagues and take care of one another. In addition to support services, we also have the Staff Urgent Relief Fundwhich can provide a single tax-free payment of up to $2,500. This fund is open to all staff (including casual staff) and I encourage you to apply if you are experiencing financial hardship and need some financial support. 

We have all experienced a challenging two years due to the impacts of COVID-19 and this announcement of the early leave loading payment and salary increase is to acknowledge the hard work our staff have done to deliver outstanding outcomes for ANU and enable us to continue to be a leader within our sector and Australia. Thank you all.

I was pleased to see that the Champions of Change Coalition 2022 Impact Report has been released this week, with more than 190 organisations participating from Australia and across the world. Overall, this year showed increases in women's representation in all leadership categories and improvements in practical actions taken to accelerate change, including actions preventing and responding to sexual harassment - which is great progress to see. My own personal target of 50:50 of women in senior leadership roles at ANU has been met at the Executive and Dean level - and I am now focused on increasing this parity into the Director level across campus.

As you will have seen in the media and previous blogs, the Minister for Education has established the Higher Education Review - known as the Australian Universities Accord. We hosted the panel's first community meetings in the Chancelry on Thursday, and I feel optimistic that we can shape a sensible Higher Education Ecosystem suitable for the decades to come. I look forward to discussing the issues around campus.

On Wednesday evening, I attended the launch of Professor Helen Sullivan's new book, Collaboration and Public Policy: Agency in the Pursuit of Public Purpose. It was great to see Helen's work - it's been a labour of love for 12 years - finally published and launched by Professor Glyn Davis. How we collaborate to create robust policy is a challenging question, as is addressing the gap between creating good policy and implementing this policy in practical ways. I'm looking forward to reading my copy over the summer break.

For those still on campus, I hope you stop by Immersia 2022a festival being held tonight and tomorrow on campus. There was a masterclass on fragrances from North India and a perfume making workshop (maybe less me!) yesterday; and art workshops as well as stargazing with Dr Brad Tucker tomorrow (a personal favourite). It's a pilot so let's show our support and please head along if you can.

Also this week, we launched the Birch Building and the new ANU Research School of Cybernetics (and for those who need a crashcourse on cybernetics - check out the new ANU Reporter explainer). I couldn't attend as I was in Melbourne, but Jenny went along and had a good time - she especially enjoyed the tour and exhibition. Congratulations to Geneviève and the team. 

In other news, our Chancellor has been visiting campus this week to help me celebrate the VC and Chancellor Annual Awards. We held an informal affair at the College of Law on the lawns and enjoyed pizza and gelato whilst celebrating some of our staff. I was really pleased to see Lucas Owen announced as the recipient for Chancellor's Award for Outstanding Service to the Campus Community - anyone who has worked with Lucas knows how dedicated he is to ANU.Congratulations to everyone who received an awardand was nominated, along with our 25-year service awardees- it was a great evening to be a part of. 

Today was our last Council meeting for the year, and Julie took the opportunity to visit the coral reef aquarium in the Florey Building. Professor Steve Eggins and Professor Michael Ellwood grow corals in controlled environments to simulate past and future oceanic conditions. This helps to understand how the climate record is preserved in the skeletons of marine organisms and how ecosystems will behave in the future. Incidentally, this process also produces ultra-green hydrogen, a fuel source that burns to produce fresh water. In addition to seeing the research, Julie was thrilled to get to meet her fish namesake - J-Bish the reef fish - who came with the coral from Cairns.

Killing St John's-wort that is overrunning my farm is on the agenda for me this weekend as well as picking my first strawberries of the season - hope everyone enjoys the summery weather!