Vice-Chancellor’s massive pay rise as university bled $106m
Queensland university head honchos pocketed thousands of dollars in pay rises last year as staff were slashed and income streams took a nosedive.
In the wake of the crushing impact of the COVID-19 pandemic universities were forced to undergo mass redundancies and faculty changes, as border closures cut-off lucrative international student fees.
But annual reports released last week reveal the eye-watering pay packets of Queensland's vice-chancellors, with three taking home more pay in 2020 than the previous year.
Queensland University of Technology's Vice-Chancellor Margaret Sheil received a package worth at least $1.2 million, up from at least $1.18 million in 2019.
Meanwhile the university suffered a $106 million income slump, including more than $24 million lost in international student fees.
As a result QUT underwent a faculty reconfiguration which resulted in 159 staff being made redundant, however 99 positions were set to be created.
Other savings measures included senior staff reduced to working nine day fortnights, travel freezes and reductions in capital works.
Professor Sheil, who has been in the top job since the beginning of 2018, is a former head of the Australian Research Council and Provost of the University of Melbourne.
A QUT spokeswoman said Professor Sheil took a 10 per cent pay cut from June 2020 due to the impact of COVID-19.
Her annual remuneration also included a bonus paid early in 2020 for the 2019 year with no bonus to be paid this year in recognition of the impact of the pandemic.
Meanwhile CQUniversity Vice-Chancellor Nick Klomp's salary package jump climbed about $90,000, from at least $675,000 in 2019 to at least $765,000 last year.
Under financial pressure due to the pandemic, the university closed its Sunshine Coast campus, plus its Biloela and Yeppoon study centres.
It also ultimately slashed executive salaries by 20 per cent for the 2020/2021 financial year, with further pay increases frozen for executive and senior management.
Overall, CQUniversity suffered a deficit of $34 million for 2020.
University of Southern Queensland Vice-Chancellor Geraldine Mackenzie's remuneration climbed to at least $705,000 in 2020 from about $675,000, though she reportedly donated her increase to the USQ student support fund.
Staff numbers remained steady throughout the pandemic.
"The University of Southern Queensland is in a strong financial position, despite the global pandemic, as it has comparatively low exposure to the international student market," a spokeswoman said.
Griffith University's Carolyn Evans took a pay cut from a reported $880,000 in 2019, but still clocked up at least $865,000 in payments in 2020.
Meanwhile more than 320 Griffith staff were made redundant or accepted early retirement payouts, with the university posting its first financial operating loss in its history - more than $64 million.
James Cook University Vice-Chancellor Sandra Harding was paid at least $945,000 - slightly less than her $975,000 in 2019.
A spokesman told The Courier-Mail Professor Harding donated 20 per cent of her salary to the student support fund in 2020, with the university cutting bonuses for senior staff.
University of Queensland vice-chancellor Peter Hoj left mid-year to take up a new post at The University of Adelaide, while University of the Sunshine Coast's vice-chancellor Greg Hill retired last August.
Originally published as Qld uni bosses earn huge pay rises during pandemic