Southern Cross University takes steps for future

Health Sciences Building at Coffs Harbour campus

Southern Cross University has today outlined the key measures it will undertake to help build its financial sustainability.

The University, with main campuses at Lismore, Coffs Harbour and Gold Coast, faces a budget shortfall of more than $40 million over the next two years due to the COVID-19 crisis and its impacts on international student numbers in particular.

Vice Chancellor Professor Adam Shoemaker addressed all staff today via video conference and assured them the University was making changes that would see it continue to thrive in the years ahead.

“This is about transforming the University so that it faces the future with confidence,” he said.

“Some restructuring and job losses will be inevitable; however we will do everything possible to safeguard the positions of staff.”

The Vice Chancellor formally announced three main initiatives to be pursued:

  1. A staff vote will be held to determine if University staff will forego two schedule pay rises of 1.4% each this July and next July. Negotiations are underway with the unions around the details of this.
  2. Staff requests wishing to reduce their hours from the normal 100% to 90% will be fully supported.
  3. The new Academic Model and Research Plan reforms have been endorsed by the University Council and will commence.

“If adopted, these actions assist our position significantly,” the Vice Chancellor said.

“Other measures and reforms we have under way are already on target to save at least $9.8m this year along.

“Each of these measures has been proposed after deep consideration of all available options and will enable Southern Cross to withstand the worst financial impacts of the COVID-19 crisis.

Last week, the University took the incredibly hard decision to close its football centre at Lismore.

“We share the community disappointment around that but it was costing the University more than $500,000 a year to run and in these difficult times we just couldn’t continue with it,” said Professor Shoemaker.

Southern Cross University has the equivalent of about 10,000 fulltime students and 1100 staff, and more than 65,000 alumni worldwide.

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