Minister for Decentralisation and Regional Education and Member for Calare, Andrew Gee has called for an independent, external audit of Charles Sturt University’s financial position.
Ever since the University announced a decline in revenue of $80 million stating that the majority of this sum is associated with CSU’s international program, there has been an enormous amount of community concern, rumour and confusion about what it means for the future of regional campuses and jobs.
While I have now been given varying explanations, nobody from the University has been able to explain with any clarity precisely how that figure of $80 million could be a direct impact on Charles Sturt University’s bottom line.
For example, most of CSU’s international students (approximately 8,000) appear to be in the capital cities of Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane. As the Prime Minister has stated, 80% of international university students are back in Australia studying. We need to find out how those figures translate into an $80 million revenue decline.
It has also emerged that CSU took a $16 million deficit into COVID-19, which is apparently also included in the $80 million. This needs to be looked at.
The audit would also need to include a pre, during and post COVID-19 analysis of the University’s international student enrolments.
CSU is a crucial part of the fabric of country communities and the future of regional Australia.
We need a full independent, external audit of CSU’s position so that everyone knows exactly where the University stands and why. This will also allay community concerns and put to rest the continuing rumour, speculation and uncertainty.