Media statement

A piece in The Age today [Race to shore up La Trobe University as Cash Crisis Bites], suggests La Trobe University is “at risk of going broke in a matter of weeks unless it secures a financial lifeline from the banks and an agreement from staff to cut wages.”

This is not correct. The University is not at risk of going broke.

The University is in productive and on-going discussions with its three banks for increased facilities that we believe will meet our funding requirements in the short term.

On average, we receive a cash inflow of new revenue each month of between $50-70 million, of which around $39 million is from the federal Government – this ensures we have sufficient cash on hand to meet our financial obligations.

The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in the entire higher education sector facing financial shortfall and uncertainty, and La Trobe is no exception. The University faces significant revenue losses this year and in 2021 and 2022 and the University is taking action to find cost savings and balance its books over the longer term.

The University has made significant cost savings of $87m in 2020 including initiating a voluntary redundancy program which is expected to deliver savings of $20m in 2020 and $40m in both 2021 and 2022.

In addition to this, the proposed Australian Universities Job Protection Framework (AUJPF) – a temporary variation to La Trobe’s enterprise agreement negotiated with the NTEU – is one of a number of measures which, if adopted, will help the University save jobs.

It’s a practical proposal developed jointly by the union and university Vice-Chancellors to address the unique circumstances of COVID-19 in a way that mitigates job losses.

The Framework will go to a local NTEU member ballot this week and La Trobe staff will vote on the AUJPF on 16 and 17 June.

The University will continue to implement cost saving measures in the short and longer term. Where possible, we will endeavour to minimise job losses so that La Trobe can continue to make a profound difference to the lives of our students, our partners and our communities.

Media contact: Claire Bowers, 0437 279 903 | c.bowers@latrobe.edu.au

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