Volume Two 2011 focusing on Universities

The Auditor-General of New South Wales, Mr Peter Achterstraat, today released his report Volume Two 2011 report to Parliament – focusing on universities.

“New South Wales’ ten universities recorded a combined operating surplus of $582  million in 2010, similar to last year’s surplus of $494 million”, said Mr Achterstraat. “Capital works expenditure increased by 16 per cent from $874 million in 2009 to $1,015 million in 2010”, he added.

Despite this, financial and reputational issues continue for universities:

“Although the maintenance back log has fallen from $832 million to $782 million at the end of 2010, the backlog remains significant”, said Mr Achterstraat.

“Substantial funds are required for $1.3 billion of planned capital works in 2011, followed by a further $1.3 billion in 2012”, he added.

The ageing workforce remains a challenge, along with funding large employee entitlements - superannuation ($3.2 billion), long service leave ($464 million) and annual leave ($233 million) 

“Revenue from overseas students has increased 75 per cent in the last five years”, said Mr Achterstraat. Overseas students now contribute nearly 20 per cent or $1.25 billion of total revenue”, he added.

Universities are taking steps to improve governance over the 97 controlled entities, nine joint ventures and 63 co-operative research centres they conduct in Australia and overseas. 
Corporate Governance

“Good corporate governance of government agencies promotes public confidence in Government,” said Mr Achterstraat.

In this report the Auditor-General presents a revised version of his 17 key governance components, first published in 2009 and publishes his Corporate Governance Lighthouse. 

“Governance is there to shine a light. Sometimes it’s a warning, sometimes it’s there to attract attention, and sometimes it’s there to guide,” said Mr Achterstraat.

Sound corporate governance is paramount to service delivery and the efficient use of taxpayers’ money.
Further Information

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