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University jobs fear over Archdiocese rent increase

The Australian Catholic University would have to raise HECS and cut staff if its landlord, the Sydney Archdiocese, demanded hefty management fees for its Strathfield and North Sydney campuses.

Vice-chancellor Professor Peter Sheehan (pictured) told The Australian for a report in today's paper that he knew the amount that Cardinal George Pell had determined, but the "very substantial" figure was confidential.

If Cardinal Pell imposed such a management fee on ACU's two campuses, students might have to pay the maximum allowable HECS increase and staff would be likely to lose jobs.

It is the first time Professor Sheehan has spoken publicly of the sensitive issue of management fees since Dr Pell controverisally backed the move to Sydney of rival Fremantle-based Catholic University Notre Dame.

ACU has paid a peppercorn rent for its campuses at Strathfield and North Sydney, but its landlord, the Sydney Archdiocese, is proposing a new management fee.

"The management fee that has been determined must have consequences for us," Professor Sheehan said. "

If a Labor government, which has vowed to reverse increases to HECS, were elected, fees would not be an issue for ACU, "one of the few universities [that] on equity grounds [has] not gone down that path" of raising money through HECS increases.

But under the Coalition, ACU would be able to raise fees.

"My feeling is we would have to drop the policy entirely and, as other universities have done around us, potentially go to the maximum," Professor Sheehan said.

Pell's fee could hit ACU jobs (The Australian 29/9/04)

ACU Senate considers Pell concerns about curriculum (CathNews 24/9/04)
Teaching program review at ACU National (Australian Catholic University 23/9/04)
ACU National seeks further legal advice on rental demand from Archdiocese (Australian Catholic University 23/9/04)
Pell denies link between Uni rent and curriculum change (CathNews 17/9/04)
Pell in rent bargain with Australian Catholic University (CathNews 9/9/04)
Pell offers rent break for more religion in uni (Australian Financial Review 9/9/04)
ACU head reveals surprise at Notre Dame Uni announcement (CathNews 4/8/04)
Notre Dame welcomes Federal support for Sydney campus (CathNews 2/8/04)
Who puts the 'R' in Catholic? Who puts the 'C' in Liberal Arts? 'We Do!' (ABC Religion Report 12/5/04)
ACU National

29 Sep 2004