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Curtin University
Note to staff

4 March 2009


Budget Surplus

As I indicated in my Address to Staff in December, the University was well positioned to achieve a surplus of approximately $79 million for 2008. This has now been confirmed at $78.7 million (subject to audit) which is $12.1 million higher than budgeted. However, it is important to understand that this figure includes a number of revenue items that, largely because of the accounting method that must be applied, distort the University’s underlying operating result. If these items are excluded, the outcome for the year was a surplus of $27.5 million, which was $18.4 million lower than the equivalent underlying budgeted outcome.

In particular:

  • Curtin received $13.7 million Better Universities Reform Funding and $5.2 million Capital Development Pool grants in 2008 which help fund our capital development program, but the necessary capital expenditure is not reflected in the 2008 operating result;
  • the University recorded losses of $27.2 million against the value of its investments in 2008, but these losses are not included in the operating result because they have not yet been realised; and
  • the result for the year reflects $8.1 million research grants received, but not yet spent and the necessary expenditure is not reflected in the 2008 operating result.

The lower than budgeted underlying result for the year reflects a trend in recent years of expenditure increasing faster than revenue, and is of considerable concern as the world’s economic difficulties continue. Going forward, this means that we will need to identify additional sources of revenue, implement efficiencies and manage costs closely. However, Curtin remains in a sound financial position, particularly when compared to many other Australian universities.

Presentations have been made to each Faculty and the Vice-Chancellory to explain the 2009 budget and the 2008 outcome in further detail and to address any specific queries. However, if you have any additional questions please feel free to raise them at my Address to Staff on 11 March.

Strategic Plan 2009-2013

Curtin’s new Strategic Plan for 2009 to 2013 has been developed with the University Council and Executive, after consultation with senior managers, the heads of schools and staff. The Plan provides a framework for the development of enabling plans and strategies across all teaching, research and administrative areas.

Our vision, mission and strategic objectives operate under the strategic plan which will enable us to pursue a clear direction for the University into the future, and achieve our targets. Underpinned by our organisational values of integrity, fairness, respect and care, the Strategic Plan directs and defines the shift to the next era for Curtin. It also guides each of us to take ownership of Curtin’s growth and future success, and I look forward to working with all of you during this exciting new phase for our University.

The Strategic Plan can be found at:

Hard copies of the Plan and poster will be distributed to all staff in the next few weeks. For additional copies, please contact the Office of Strategy and Planning on 9266 7457.

I will be speaking to staff across the University in several forums over the coming weeks, and I look forward to discussing the implementation of the Plan.

International Women’s Day (8 March)

International Women’s Day (IWD) is celebrated annually on 8 March and is an occasion for people around the world to come together to celebrate the gains women have made; to assess the current position and to take action on relevant issues.

IWD is an opportunity for networking, sharing information and focusing community attention on issues of concern to women. It is celebrated by people of all ages, cultures and backgrounds. The history of IWD reflects those issues women themselves identify as central to their lives. Issues include economic choice, equality in decision making, the provision of childcare, safety from violence in the home and in the community.

Curtin is committed to enhancing equal opportunity for women and was recently awarded the prestigious Employer of Choice for Women Citation from the Equal Opportunity for Women in the Workplace Agency. The University was cited as having exceeded the criteria for the award through its raising of standards in developing equal opportunities for female staff and students. Our Equal Employment Opportunity Management Plan which has been acknowledged by the Office of EEO (WA) as best practice is available at:

On 8 March I encourage you to celebrate the achievements women have made and reflect on the issues that still require action. Information about IWD events is available at:

Prep Week and O Week Thanks

I would like to extend a very big ‘thank you’ to all staff who contributed toward making Prep and O Week such a great beginning for our new students, in particular the START Team, Office of Teaching and Learning, Student Exchange, Disability Services, University Counselling, Housing, Postgraduate Research, all the Faculties and the Guild. The Campus really came alive during this time, which was the result of many dedicated people working together to achieve such an outstanding result.

Curtin graduate helms The Sydney Morning Herald

Curtin graduate, Peter Fray, has recently taken over the helm at The Sydney Morning Herald as its new editor.

Peter, who graduated with a Bachelor of Arts (English) in 1985, has been a senior reporter and editor with Fairfax for the past 15 years and most recently edited the Canberra Times. He was also Europe correspondent, based in London, for the Herald and the Melbourne Age, from 2001 to 2005.
Congratulations to Peter on this significant achievement in his career.

VC Address to Staff

Please be reminded that I will be addressing all staff on Wednesday, 11 March from 1pm to 2pm in the Elizabeth Jolley Lecture Theatre. All staff are encouraged to attend. The address will be recorded for those who are unable to make it.