VC's update – Voice Dialogue for students across Australia

07 Jul 2023

Hello everyone,  

I was in Europe last week and visited the leadership of both SciencePo in Paris and Humboldt University in Berlin. We talked a lot about building up academic exchange between our institutions, building on what is a strong foundation. I am hoping that we will be able to fast-track these activitiesIf you have colleagues interested in coming here, or are interested in taking some overseas study to SciencePo and Humboldt, I am hoping to make this easier than ever before. Stay tuned.   

I also met with a range of alumni and university supporters in London, including the Australian High Commissioner, Steven SmithThe High Commissioner is keen to enlist our support of Australian-UK activities, and I am hoping some concrete opportunities for staff and students might emerge in the months ahead.  

It is also NAIDOC Week and I was pleased to hear Ngambri, Ngunnawal and Wiradjuri elderAunty Dr Matilda House has been named the 2023 National NAIDOC female Elder of the Year. For more than three decades, Aunty Matilda has supported our students and community through her guidance and storytelling - and has been an advocate for Indigenous social justice and rights. She was critical in helping the University establishthe Tjabal Indigenous Higher Education Centre back in 1989, and continues to work closely with Aunty Professor Anne Martin and Tjabal; and has provided countless and meaningfulsmoking ceremonies on our campus and warmly welcomes our community and guests to Country to this day.I am glad Aunty Matilda's contributions and advocacy are continued to be recognisednationwideShe has reminded me that I owe her a meeting where I cook the chocolate cake.  

Last week Professor Peter Yu and I personally invited each university across Australia to partner with us on the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice: A Dialogue for Students. This special event will be held around the anniversary of the Zelenskyy special address in early August next month and aims to once again bring the national student body together to discuss this critical moment in Australia's history as we prepare to vote later this year. Please keep an eye out - all our students will be invited to join and more details will be provided soon.  

Uncharted Territory, the ACT Government's winter innovation festival in partnership with ANU, launched today. Over the next ten days, Kambri will be filled with activity, and there will be lots of cool things get involved in - so I encourage you to check it out. It's also mid-year Graduations next week which is always an exciting time for our graduands and teaching staff - congratulations to all our students who are about to walk across that stage. 

You may have seen the announcement I made yesterday with the ACT Chief Minister about the University's acquisition of a piece of land on the eastern edge of our campus. This block - which is the last of its kind on the campus border, is located on the corner of Marcus Clarke and Gordon Streets. It will become a new national health precinct underpinning the College of Health and Medical Research's Transform strategy.  In my message yesterday, I said this was an opportunity we could not afford to miss. The new precinct that will be home to our translational work in public health, biomedical science, medicine and psychology, and bring in activity from well beyond CHM. It will transform our research into treatments available to the public, while we also work on the social ethical and legal implications of these new advances in healthcare and personalised medicine. 

 The new precinct, directly across from the NHMRC, will bring together health-focused organisations and agencies, clinical services, as well as engagement and learning opportunities. The site will remain used by the ACT Government as a staging ground for the light rail, and so we have several years to plan our work. Our intent is to get external finance to fund the construction, and we will work with a number of partners to co-design the precinct for maximal benefit.  

Perhaps it is not surprising that while we are negotiating salary with the NTEU, they have expressed their concerns about us spending this money. I posted a little video online that explains how this capital expenditure is not material to our salary discussions, and that the University continues to need to expend resources to undertake our mission. 

So where do we stand in our negotiations on salary? We continue to work in good faith with the NTEU to have an appropriate salary increase as part of our new Enterprise Agreement. I have made clear that I am unprepared to enter into an agreement that would require us to have more redundancies, but within that constraint, we are flexible about how we might move forward. Our current offer, when looked through the lens of actual pay increases from 2023onwards, is one of the most generous pay offersImportantly, it is what our financial projections say we can realistically afford over the coming years.Salary increases must be sustainable and consistent with maintaining security in employment overall for staff. The current offer presented by ANU to bargaining representatives in June is: 

  • A cumulative total of a 16.99 per cent increase between 2023 and 2026, and we want to get that money into your pocket as soon as possible to offset rises in the cost of living. 
  • This includes a salary increase of 3.5 per cent which we paid as early as we could, in February this year, and a further 0.5 per cent increase to be back paid in July 2023 upon a successful vote and Fair Work endorsement of the new Agreement. 
  • Then, 6 months after that, in January 2024, you will get a 5 per cent pay increase.
  • In January 2025, a further 4 per cent pay increase. 
  • In January 2026, another 3 per cent pay rise. 
  • So, as each rise is cumulative, this means you will earn 16.99 per cent more in 2026 than you did at the start of 2023. 
  • We will also make a one-off payment to all staff when we finalise our Enterprise Agreement: senior staff will get $1000, while all other staff will get a $1250 bonus. 

 We will continue to update our community as bargaining continues.  

Lastly, especially to our students, please be vigilant against scams! Another one is doing the rounds - targeting university students - using sophisticated techniques. It's really important to be across common scamming techniques and how you can best prevent it happening to you. If you think you, or someone you know, has been targeted, there is support available and we are here to help you. Please read the Student Safety and Wellbeing team's scam awareness page for more information.

 Enjoy your weekend, I am putting the proverbial on Raspberries this weekend (although Jenny did most of the work earlier in the week).