The Australian: VCA = $ For Uni Melb

Posted by savevca1 on February 24th, 2010

The Australian has revealed former VCA advisory board chairs Noel Turnbull and Lynne Landy, with former Victorian arts minister Race Mathews, have called for independent research on the costs the university is charging to the VCA and the benefits to the university. This is amid speculation by a great many public submissions to the VCAM Review that the merger has actually financially crippled VCA, as opposed to saving it.

One submission by former Manager of Film Victoria Ros Walker points out the lunancy of the University’s spin-doctoring of the supposed “subsidy” provided to VCA, which seems to change with every press release (indeed today’s article in The Australian now quotes $17m for 2009!):

Year/s Amount Source
2007 – 2009 $37 million 27 May 2009  “Around Campus”, University (of Melbourne) News
2007 – 2009 $41 million 21 September 2009 update.php
2009 $11 million 12 April 2009 The $5 million plus $6 million rent discussed by the Dean in “Pretty well rehearsed in reshaping the Arts”, interview with Sharman Pretty by Robin Usher in The Age.
2009 $15.6 million 27 May 2009  “Around Campus”, University (of Melbourne)
2009 $18 million 8 August 2009 Faculty of the VCA and Music Business Plan Summary 2010 Final draft, p4
2009 $10 plus $xx million for rental costs Approx. 29 November 2009 “University Shows True Colours- Discussion Paper a Sham”, Crikey. Under Finance section of a draft University of Melbourne website which accidentally went live after the Discussion Paper was released. [SAVE VCA insert - Yes that was Uni Melb putting "$XX" as their figure]
2010 – 2011 Over $30  million November 2009, “Defining the Future for the VCA and Music at the University of Melbourne discussion paper, p 25
2010 – 2011 $33.4 million 21 Sept 2009 update.php

The submission by Ms Walker makes other startling revelations including:

  • At the time of the merger, the University reported receiving $103 million worth of assets. This acquisition has not been factored into subsidy calculations including the VCA’s requirement to pay rent to the University. VCA has moved from having a 18% deficit pre-merger, to having a 38% deficit post-merger.
  • Since 2007, VCA has been charged $6 million in rent plus $3.8 million in additional administration costs per year. In 2009 the VCA’s “contribution to University overheads” (administration and rental charges) was 83% of VCA’s income, compared to an average of 46% in other Faculties.
  • Being funded as part of the Roundtable group is obviously the best financial outcome for the VCA followed by de-merging with additional funding from the Commonwealth or State government. The third most favourable option financially is to de-merge, even with no additional funding. It makes no financial sense for the VCA to remain part of the University.

Read Ms Walker’s full submission here.

In the official SAVE VCA submission, we also called for VCA’s books to be independently audited out of concern that “subsidy” and “rent” and real estate are actually behind the destruction of VCA – it has nothing to do with a heartfelt belief in an a new education paradigm (the Melbourne Model) or caring for students.

Links to submissions publicly available at present are available via our last post. Many more submissions are still to be published by the University.

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2 Responses to “The Australian: VCA = $ For Uni Melb”

  1. Veronica Aldous

    Thank you for keeping us updated.

  2. Given the University of Melbourne’s history of honesty, transparency and genuine concern for students, the call for a truly independent assessment of the finances is absolutely necessary. The University is probably spending many tens of thousands of dollars just on defensive advertising and PR hype to contradict the submissions to this review. In a very real sense, the submissions to this review were a public referendum on the ‘Melbourne Model’, and the result is a clear rejection. It can only be hoped that the state government will show some leadership in restoring the VCA to the proudly successful institution it was; a national treasure situated in one of the most livable cities in the world, Melbourne.

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