Deakin University says its Warrnambool campus will remain sustainable after federal government funding cuts

CHANGE: Jane den Hollander talks to the audience at a community forum about the university's future in 2016. Picture: Rob Gunstone
CHANGE: Jane den Hollander talks to the audience at a community forum about the university's future in 2016. Picture: Rob Gunstone

Deakin University says its Warrnambool campus will be unaffected by a $51 million cut to its federal government funding.

Deakin Vice-Chancellor Professor Jane den Hollander said a restructure two years ago after the campus almost closed had positioned it well to avoid any further change.

Professor den Hollander said it was “business as usual at the Warrnambool campus”, however she said the cuts would hit other regional universities hard. 

“Deakin’s 2016 restructure changed the staffing and course profile at Warrnambool and no further changes are anticipated,” Preofessor den Hollander said.

“The university has managed its assets and income to minimise the impact of these cuts on our students, staff and local communities and will continue to do so.”

In 2016 Deakin revealed 36 people had applied for “voluntary separation packages”, but only 26 had been accepted, the equivalent of about one-in-six staff. 

At that time the campus had 158 ongoing staff, which did not include casuals.

The campus now has 132. 

Courses were also cut at the university campus. 

Professor den Hollander said while Deakin had been able to absorb any immediate funding changes through good management, the current freeze was difficult. 

Universities across Australia have been subject to the cuts. 

“What is especially compromising is the abolition of infrastructure grants, Education Infrastructure Funds, and other streams that enable universities to update equipment and labs, build infrastructure for new ideas and generally compete with other international universities,” she said.

“In the longer term this may well be harmful and will probably lead to reduced diversity and a reduction of our Australian presence in the world. 

“This seems a high price to pay for the benefits of Australia’s current high value and high reputation university system that generates so much innovation and wealth, most particularly job creation, for the many communities that Australian universities serve.”