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Curtin University
Note to staff

10 October, 2008


2009 Budget Process

Staff will be aware that we are currently setting the budget for 2009. This process involves ensuring the strategic objectives of the University can be met within a workable framework for Faculties and Areas. Many of you will know that this is a challenging task, not least because we have little hope of relief from our principal funder – government – for at least another year, but also because of the current instability and turmoil in the global financial markets. In this context I would like to assure you the management team is working hard to make sure the budget process is concluded in a way that both enables us to do our business and safeguards the University.

In 2008, revenues for Commonwealth supported students amounted to over 30 per cent of Curtin’s total income. In recent years, the University has also benefited from additional revenues for Commonwealth supported students from a number of sources, including compliance with National Governance Protocols and the 25 per cent increase in student contributions. However, no further increases in these funds are expected after 2008, and revenue increases for Commonwealth supported students will only be approximately 2.1 per cent per annum, the amount permitted by the Commonwealth Government for indexation. At the same time our expenses are growing at a much higher rate.

At present, salary costs for 2008 are expected to be almost 13 per cent higher than 2007, reflecting both anticipated salary increases and larger staff numbers. In addition to the salary costs, the overall administration and operational costs of running the University are also increasing. These increases are due to unavoidable demands associated with, for example, security, legislative compliance, increased fuel costs and environmental concerns. All these expenses underpin Curtin’s teaching and research, and provide the supports and services required for students and staff.

Upon the initial analysis of budget submissions, it was apparent that requested expenditure was higher than the predicted revenue for 2009.

We need to carefully scrutinise all aspects of our work to see if there are tasks we can stop doing, or undertake more effectively, so we can focus on essential activities and ensure workloads do not become more onerous.

Despite the financial constraints facing the University we will still be budgeting for a surplus, or ‘future fund’ for a number of reasons:

• to provide a safety net in the event of difficult financial times to ensure that we can pay staff and maintain operations (at this point it is impossible to predict what the fall out from the global financial crisis will be, and how this could potentially affect our international student market and other investments);

• to invest in Curtin’s future, including identifying and marketing new courses, building much needed infrastructure such as new laboratories and teaching spaces, and upgrading existing spaces to ensure they keep pace with rapid changes in technology. As staff will be aware, the Curtin Stadium will be completed early in 2009 with the Resources and Chemistry Precinct due to come on line later that year. Bids for other significant capital works for research and teaching facilities, for example, in the health, business and humanities areas, are still being bought forward and considered.

• to ensure the long term sustainability of the University through building cash and investment reserves.

I understand the budget process can be an unsettling time, and I am very appreciative of the work you are all doing to ensure Curtin delivers a great outcome for our students and remains a financially healthy organisation. I will keep you up to date with progress over the next few months.


Appointment of Chief Information Officer – Curtin Information Technology Systems

I am pleased to advise that Mr Peter Nikoletatos has been appointed as the University’s new Chief Information Officer (CIO) and commences in his new role on October 13, 2008.

Mr Nikoletatos has more than 25 years experience in the information technology (IT) industry in Australia and overseas, and was previously the University of Newcastle’s CIO.

He has held several senior appointments including IT Manager for I-MED – DCA Group – and National Manager eBusiness for CSC, formerly BHP IT. He is a fellow with the Australian Institute of Project Managers, a member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors and a long-time member of the Australian Institute of Management.

Mr Nikoletatos brings extensive strategic leadership and management experience to the role. He will be responsible for continuing to develop the University’s capacity to deliver teaching, research and services, strategic partnerships and internal working relations.

He holds a Bachelor of Business, a Master of Education Studies and a Graduate Diploma in Law, and is currently undertaking a PhD.

We look forward to working with Peter and I am sure you will all make him welcome as he settles into his new life with us at Curtin and in WA.