Volume Two 2010 focus on Universities

The Auditor-General of New South Wales, Mr Peter Achterstraat, today released his report to Parliament Volume Two 2010 – focusing on universities.


“New South Wales’ ten universities recorded a combined operating surplus of $494 million compared to a deficit of $76.9 million last year, reflecting the improvement in global financial markets. This was largely due to investment gains of $38.0 million in 2009 compared to $405 million of losses in 2008,” said MrAchterstraat.

“Despite this, financial risks remain for universities. With the recovery in global financial markets remaining fragile, universities with overseas operations and those needing to fund capital works programs, are at most risk. Capital funding is estimated at $2.0 billion for 2010 and 2011,” he added.

There is increasing reliance on overseas students who now contribute nearly 20 per cent or $1.1 billion of total revenue. Revenue from overseas students has increased 56 per cent in five years.

There are also concerns about the ageing of academic staff.

“One quarter of academic staff employed in NSW universities are aged 55 years or over. Forty one per cent are 50 years or older. Universities face a potential loss of skills as academic staff retire,” he added.

Fraud Control

“Sixty -six per cent of large New South Wales Government agencies and universities have effective or highly effective fraud control measures,” said Mr Achterstraat.

The most common types of frauds reported were theft, including cash, consumerables and intangible assets; procurement fraud, such as false invoicing and credit card misuse; payroll fraud and fraudulent expenditure claims.

“In times of economic uncertainty where fraud risks are higher, it is essential that organisations have adequate fraud controls,” he added.

Further Information

Barry Underwood, Executive Officer, 9275 7220 or 0403 073 664, email - barry.underwood@audit.nsw.gov.au