THE AUSTRALIAN: Campaign succeeds, but messy fight leaves fallout

Posted by savevca1 on September 15th, 2011

The Australian newspaper has achieved what SAVE VCA could not – finally getting the new VCAM Dean to give an update on where the outrageous Uni Melb admin and rental charges are at:

But Conyngham stresses that while the VCA has significant independence it still has obligations to the university. “We can’t have it all our own way,” he says. “The faculty has to contribute to the running of the university.”

It is the size of these obligations, in the form of administrative charges and rent that were a big part of last year’s disputes. And they continue to bubble.

Conyngham has been able to negotiate a reduction in the annual rent the university charges of about $800,000 from next year. For some it’s proof the VCA was being overcharged. (READ THE FULL ARTICLE HERE)

$800K discount from what? Alas the Dean did not answer that question.

The Dean finished his interview noting:

“I like a bit of scepticism, so I think it is terrific that they [SAVE VCA] are there and if they have issues that bite then we should be able to respond to them,”

Ummmm Barry we’re still waiting for the clarification on the rent and admin charges (we’ve been chasing you for a meeting since May remember?). You could save us some time though and (1) publicly release the dollar figure of the VCAM funds that are flowing to the University of Melbourne for rent and admin charges, (2) detail what percentage of VCAM’s income they represent, (3) provide a comparison of this percentage against other Uni Melb faculties and (4) provide detail on how you’re making sure the Vic Gov $6m p/a flowing to VCA will not end up in Uni Melb’s pocket.

If Uni Melb has wiped off $800K without publicly beating their chest over their ‘generosity’, we suspect the fee sizes must remain to VCA’s detriment.

Thanks to The Australian for this fantastic update (and we hope next time the VCA community does not have to rely on the media for updates).

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One Response to “THE AUSTRALIAN: Campaign succeeds, but messy fight leaves fallout”

  1. Robert Stephenson

    What bothers me about the news reports about this new funding is that it has saved the VCA from going under. The additional funding is welcome, but it is not going to ‘save’ the VCA because it cannot be tied to operational costs related to the intensive and specialised style of education. It cannot be used to replace the reduction in subsidy from the University. The University will be greatly reducing the subsidy over the next few years, eventually down to zero, so the problem about operational costs and rent will not go away. Staff have been informed that this new money cannot be spent on or relied upon to keep VCA and Music going, It is being used for additional events such as master classes, initiatives with State Opera, special events and so forth. These are good things to do, and makes it easier to show to the State Government what it gets for its money, but the VCA is still faced with the situation to tend to its shrinking operational budget by increasing class sizes and developing low-cost bums-on-seats courses.

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