Skip to content
Education Training, Employment Relations

New report reveals unelected corporate stacking of university boards

National Tertiary Education Union 2 mins read

Australian universities’ governing bodies have become stacked with unelected big business appointees, a new report has revealed.

National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU) research, released on Friday, shows university councils and senates are increasingly filled with people from the corporate world.

More than one in four positions (27%) on university governing bodies are corporate executives or consultants.

The NTEU is calling for Australian universities’ broken governance system to be a top agenda item when federal and state education ministers meet on Friday.

The University of New England (50%), University of Wollongong (50%), Macquarie University (46%), University of Melbourne (42%) and La Trobe University (40%) have the highest number of corporate board appointees. 

WA’s Curtin University has three appointees from the mining industry and two from financial services, far outstripping the two current staff members on its council.

In April 2024, of 545 positions on university governing bodies 366 were appointed, and of these 143 were corporate executives or consultants from for-profit organisations. 

Just 137 were elected from the staff, students and graduates of the institutions they serve.

NTEU National President Dr Alison Barnes:

“It’s little surprise the rise of big business appointees on university boards has coincided with an explosion in insecure work, wage theft and poor governance.

“We’re seeing the very worst traits of big business infecting our public universities. 

“Vice-chancellors raking in more than $1 million each year are getting away with turning cherished institutions into corporate husks because there’s so little accountability.

“No one is more committed to sustainable universities that deliver for Australian society than staff and students. 

“Yet we’re now in a shocking situation where they are outnumbered by big business appointees with little to no experience in higher education.

“There must be a minimum number of elected staff and student positions on each university governing body.

“We are urging federal and state governments to make governance reforms a top priority at today’s meeting. 

“Under the broken governance model, there has been $170 million in wage theft from staff and two-thirds of the higher education workforce is employed insecurely.

“Governments must respond to the Universities Accord with major changes to governance or Australia’s future is at risk.”


Contact details:

Matt Coughlan 0400 561 480 / matt@hortonadvisory.com.au

Media

More from this category

  • Education Training, Food Beverages
  • 17/05/2024
  • 09:02
ASCA Ltd

Celebrate Canteen Week is here for 2024!

ASCA is a not-for-profit member association of over 6500 schools Australia wide. Each year, ASCA helps schools and school canteens save millions of dollars,and…

  • Contains:
  • Education Training, Political
  • 17/05/2024
  • 07:02
CFMEU ACT

CFMEU ACT urges ANU to abandon student encampment eviction plan

CFMEU ACT has urged the Australian National University (ANU) to abandon its threats to evict the student encampment peacefully protesting Israel’s war in Gaza. ANU management has directed students participating in the encampment to vacate and remove all personal belongings by the end of Friday. CFMEU ACT Secretary Zach Smith said the union was behind students at the encampment. “ANU’s bosses need to take a good hard look at themselves for this heavy-handed ultimatum levelled at students simply exercising their democratic right to peacefully protest,” he said. “Peaceful protest is a cornerstone of any healthy democracy and this ridiculous attempt…

  • Education Training, Union
  • 16/05/2024
  • 16:42
National Tertiary Education Union

UWA’s mega-$10.6 million wage theft exposed

The National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU) has called for urgent reform after the University of Western Australia (UWA) admitted to at least $10.6 million in wage theft. UWA on Thursday revealed superannuation underpayments, affecting 2700 existing and 5500 former employees. The figure is expected to rise when the university completes a review of potential wage theft from casual staff later in the year. It is the latest wage theft scandal to rock Australian universities, which have stolen more than $170 million from almost 110,000 staff in recent years. NTEU UWA Branch President Dr Sanna Peden said: “UWA staff have every…

Media Outreach made fast, easy, simple.

Feature your press release on Medianet's News Hub every time you distribute with Medianet. Pay per release or save with a subscription.