According to the Australian National University (ANU) in the ACT this is its financial situation:
- Provides revenue to support the ANU liability to current and former staff covered by the Commonwealth Superannuation Scheme (CSS) – approx. $450M
- Invests the funds within the Endowment for Excellence which funds some staff salaries, scholarships etc.
- Invests the cash reserves of the University, whether held centrally or by Colleges
So how is this university tackling its falling investment income?
Well, it is apparently not doing what it implied to faculty, students, media and the general public in 2011 - totally divesting itself of coal seam gas industry shares.
Woroni, the ANU student newspaper:
Vice-Chancellor Ian Young has announced that ANU will sell its shares in Coal Seam Gas extractor Metgasco in light of opposition from students to university involvement with the industry.
The Canberra Times:
The ANU's vice-chancellor Professor Ian Young announced the sell-off of about $1million worth of Metgasco shares in a statement to the ANU Students Association this week. But he's played down the role of student protests in forcing the move, telling The Canberra Times it was ''a pragmatic decision'' based on the worth of the shares.
''We've had those shares since 2001,'' Professor Young said.
''They represent less than 0.1 per cent of our total investment portfolio.''
Because according to Metgasco's own documents as of 21 September 2012 ANU was the 17th largest shareholder in this coal seam gas exploration and production company with 2.5 million shares remaining of the 4.2 million shares it held in 2011.
The university's excuse in August last year for this state of affairs - “there are no/few buyers” for these shares.
This excuse seems laboured. Even though share volume traded is often sluggish, by the end of September 2012 a good stockbroker should have been able to offload ANU's remaining shares.
It would appear that it is determined to retain its investment in Metgasco in spite of the fact that this mining company's first-stage plan for the Northern Rivers is to establish an estimated 1,000 gas production wells.
Turning the rural landscape into a version of this:
Section of a gas field in Tara, Queensland
This is the current membership of the University Council and I would suggest to Northern Rivers communities that these individuals need to justify the continuing inclusion of Metgasco Limited in the university's investment portfolio:
Professor the Honourable Gareth Evans AC QC - Chancellor
Professor Ian Robert Young AO - Vice-Chancellor
Ms Ilana Atlas - Pro-Chancellor
Dr Doug McTaggart
Dr Vince FitzGerald
Ms Robin Hughes AO
Ms Martine Letts
Mr David Miles AM
Mr Graeme Samuel AC
Professor Andrew MacIntyre
Professor John Close
Professor Tim Senden
Mr Matthew King
Ms Aleksandra Sladojevic
Ms Julie Melrose
Their contact details are here.
* An email was sent to the Australian National University Chancellor seeking further confirmation of the Metgasco share parcel. No reply has been received.