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Greens call for Uni merger business case to be made public and subject to independent analysis

17 October 2023

The Greens are calling for the full business case for the University merger to be made public and subject to independent analysis following the release of the Report of the Joint Parliamentary Committee earlier today.

“Given the significant investment of public money and the key role that universities play in our state, it is only appropriate that the full business case for this merger plan be made public. When we are talking about public money, surely the public has the right to know. Universities are public institutions, not secret societies” said the Greens Education Spokesperson, Robert Simms MLC.

“It appears that none of the key proponents of the Uni merger, including the Government itself have actually read the business case. This document should be released and subject to some kind of independent analysis, so that someone runs a ruler over it before the Parliament is asked to vote on a bill. Ideally, an Independent Commission of Inquiry would have undertaken this work but sadly that election commitment was junked by Labor when they came to office.”

“Additionally, given controversy surrounding the role of consultants in recent months, the universities should disclose the names of any consultants they engaged on this proposal.”

The Greens submitted a Minority Report to the Joint Committee of the Establishment of the Adelaide University calling for a range of governance reforms to be part of any new university, including:

  • increased representation for staff and students on the University Council,
  • public disclosure of Council agendas and minutes with meetings to be held in public;
  • a cap on the salary of any new Vice Chancellor and
  • increased protections for University workers.

On Friday, the Australia Institute released new polling showing that 86 per cent of South Australians want the business case released and 80 per cent support the publication of University Council minutes.

This afternoon Mr Simms gave notice of a motion in the Upper House noting the polling and calling for the universities to release the business case. The motion will be put to a vote in a future sitting.