The Sydney Morning Herald

Cream of academe as vice-chancellors near $1m pay

Author: Heath Gilmore
Date: 05/06/2010
Words: 384
Source: SMH
          Publication: Sydney Morning Herald
Section: News and Features
Page: 9
ALL the vice-chancellors of NSW earn more than $500,000 a year and the first official $1 million-a-year university executive is on the way.

As the salaries of university chief executives soar far in excess of those paid to top academics, the vice-chancellor of Macquarie University, Steven Schwartz, is the best paid on a package worth more than $800,000, according to annual reports released in State Parliament this week.

For many senior university executives, remuneration has increased dramatically despite the global financial crisis.

Genevieve Kelly, the National Tertiary Education Union's state secretary, was highly critical of the salary packages of vice-chancellors.

"The exorbitant pay arrangements for vice-chancellors are pushing up the pay rates for other senior university managers, sucking huge amounts of money away from the university sector's core roles of providing world class education and research," she said.

"It is hard to fathom why vice-chancellors at our publicly funded universities should be earning between double and four times the wage of the Prime Minister."

Some vice-chancellors, such as Michael Spence of the University of Sydney, unofficially come close to or exceed the $1 million mark.

Dr Spence joined the university in July 2008, taking over from Professor Gavin Brown.

A spokeswoman for the university said Dr Spence's salary package was between $740,000 and $749,000.

She said the university-owned luxury residence occupied by Dr Spence was not included in his salary ranking in the annual report. The deemed value of the house including fringe benefits tax is $356,000.

The two other big increases on the earnings table were Professor Schwartz and Professor Gerard Sutton from Wollongong University.

A spokesman for Professor Schwartz said his earnings had been skewed because a 2007 bonus was paid in 2008.

The vice-chancellor's salary package at the University of Wollongong was $652,000, not $760,000 as listed in the annual report, a university spokesman said. "The 2009 annual report overstates the vice-chancellor's normal annual salary package. This is due to an increased fringe benefits tax liability and a one-off back payment in regard to a retention allowance."

A spokeswoman for the University of Newcastle said it used a different methodology to calculate its vice-chancellor's salary but refused to comment further.

Last year the university refused to disclose details of how much it was paying senior executives in bonuses, ignoring a recommendation from the NSW Ombudsman that there were no grounds for withholding the information.

Fairfax Digital Privacy Policy | Conditions of Use | Member Agreement | Copyright