Among the conditions that the university intends to apply are a 17.9% increase in contact time for teaching, an increase in working time from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. to 7 p.m., greater flexibility for university management in negotiating redundancy packages and a management right to recruit new employees on fixed-term contracts. In 2019, we launched VU`s Popular Strategy 2019-2020 to create the best environment for all employees. It is welcome, strongest, support, integration and diversity. Last year, the university, which serves in western Melbourne and provides professional skills and higher education, reported a deficit of $29.2 million for a turnover of $444 million. The result was almost three times the deficit of the previous year and, for the fourth year in a row, it was in the red. Ms. TIERNEY (Minister of Training and Qualifications) – I thank the Member for his question and for his continued interest in Victoria University.
As the member would know, the labour relations issues that are dealt with at the university are the province of the university, and the Victorian government`s labour relations policy does not cover the university as such. It is recalled that, in the run-up to the current agreement, it expires this year, and the current agreement mentions the provisions relating to amendments and dismissals, as well as the issues raised by Ms. Hartland with respect to those who have difficulty working at Victoria University. “After several consecutive years in deficit, Victoria University must now return to a surplus over the next four years and reduce spending and increase revenues and productivity,” said Lorraine Ling, team leader for enterprise negotiation at Victoria University. Professor Ling said that even if all the conditions were agreed for the university, some of the best vacation services in Victoria and the highest-paid parental leave in the industry would still offer. I also note that neither the university nor the union itself has contacted the department on this matter. As I said, it was first discussed in the media and I look forward to learning more about what the department has learned from its requests to Victoria University management. Mrs TIERNEY (Minister of Training and Qualifications) – I thank the Member for his question. In terms of what I can do, I am quite limited in the way the measures are taken because of the legislation that covers the university and the public interest responsibility.