Impact on La Trobe uni jobs not yet known

IT may still be months before it becomes clear how La Trobe University’s Albury-Wodonga campus will be affected by massive planned job cuts.

The university announced earlier this year that 350 jobs would go as part of what it described at the time as a “need for productivity improvements”.

The announcement prompted a National Tertiary Education Union strike at the Border campus in late March.

A university spokesman said yesterday that it could be weeks “but more likely months” before it was known where the jobs would be cut.

The spokesman said the university was still going through the process of working out priorities.

As such, he said, “the impact on Albury-Wodonga is still not known”.

About a quarter of the campus’ 85 staff attended a video conference with colleagues at other campuses as part of the industrial campaign.

The union’s La Trobe branch president, Virginia Mansel Lees, said at the time that they were “trying to get some job security” for staff.

Meanwhile, La Trobe has given support to the recently released Kemp-Norton review, which recommended federal funding for private universities, TAFEs and other non-university higher education providers.

The spokesman said university vice-chancellor Professor John Dewar made it clear in a recent opinion piece that these changes could have several benefits.

He said Professor Dewar wrote that the recommendations of the review would create a greater diversity of institutions and greater competition.

“The Kemp-Norton review rightly celebrates the dynamism of our higher education system and its responsiveness to the introduction of market forces with improved quality and greater innovation,” Professor Dewar said.

The vice-chancellor dismissed concern from Universities Australia that the proposal posed a threat to the quality of the higher education system through extending public funding to non-university providers.

To illustrate this, he pointed to how La Trobe offered all or part of some degrees through partnerships with “high quality TAFEs” and private providers.