By Eliza Croft

Two candidates are vying for the position of ANUSA Treasurer: Maddy Wang, from ‘Turn Over a New Leaf’, and Ethan Gardiner with ‘You! For ANUSA’. Wang plans to increase ANUSA’s revenue through measures such as sponsorship, while Gardiner wants to cut spending on retreats and salaries to fund student services.

The Job

The Treasurer oversees the Association’s budget. ANUSA has an annual budget of over $2 million, which almost entirely comes from funding from the Student Services and Amenities Fee (SSAF). The Treasurer works with ANUSA staff and Executives to prepare the Association’s bid for SSAF funding, determine how much money should be spent on each line item and project, ensure ANUSA does not exceed its budget, and make budgetary adjustments as necessary throughout the year.

The Candidates

You! For ANUSA’s candidate is Ethan Gardiner. Gardiner is a 3rd year Finance/Asian Studies student. He is currently the Treasurer of the CAP Students’ Society.

New Leaf is running Maddy Wang for Treasurer. She is a 3rd year Law/Science student. Wang is the current Unilodge Residents’ Committee Treasurer, Treasurer of ANU Vinnies, and has been involved in the MTAA Super Sol Invitctus team.

The Policies

The SSAF Pie

Gardiner wishes to reduce ANUSA’s spending on Executive’s salaries and leadership retreats. ANUSA’s current budget includes $20 000 for retreats, and over $1 million on salaries and superannuation. The President has a salary of approximately $45 000, the Vice President $32 000, and other Executives $18 000. Instead of this, Gardiner proposes an honoraria system. Gardiner and his ticket plan to cut spending on leadership development and use the extra funds to “make Kambri more affordable, and life a little bit easier”.

Wang is focused on finding additional revenue streams, rather than cutting back in particular areas of spending. “Why give people a smaller slice of the cake when we could bake another cake?” she said at Wednesday’s Election Debate event. Wang plans to increase sponsorship and other revenues. In 2018, SSAF made up approximately 90% of ANUSA’s total income. Wang wants to reduce this to 85% in 2020, and 75% across the next five years. Her policy also includes “zero net cost events” (originally titled “for profit/zero net cost events”) such as a multicultural festival, which would allow ANUSA to seek “in kind or monetary sponsorships from businesses” (as opposed to charging students for tickets).

New Spending

Wang’s platform includes a number of new areas of funding and increases to existing commitments. She wishes to implement an honoraria pool for College Representatives in 2020 or 2021, pointing out the frequency with which they resign, and positing that “part of that is because cost is a barrier to engagement”. Clubs Council Executives are also on Wang’s list of those deserving honoraria. Paying Clubs Council Executives was discussed in 2017, with a motion passed at a General Meeting compelling the President to investigate doing so. However, the issue was put on hold until the Governance Review was completed. “Given the changes to Clubs Council between now and then, I believe it is the right time to put this topic back up for discussion,” Wang says. She also wants to increase the clubs’ funding bid from $150 000 to $200 000, and increase the budget for ‘Clubs Events’, which is currently only spent on the annual Clubs Ball.

Gardiner has also identified areas for additional spending. He wants to introduce a “discretionary student life fund”. When asked how this proposal differed from the existing Student Extracurricular Enrichment Fund (SEEF), Gardiner responded that this new fund would operate as a “quick injection of cash” for student groups to use at the last minute, requiring less red tape to access. Gardiner also promises to bid for more than $60 000 for “BKSS food and consumables”, up from the current $26 000, to provide free lunch to students “in much the same way that breakfast is currently provided”. Finally, Gardiner wants to fund “additional mental health training accreditation” for student leaders, beyond the Mental Health First Aid training which is usually provided.

Beyond Dollars

There are a number of non-budgetary measures in Wang’s policy platform. She plans to run “financial literacy” workshops, similar to the “How to Adult” workshops that ANUSA currently runs. Wang also wants to push for a ban on SSAF money being spent on single-use plastics, similar to the current rule about alcohol.

Voting for the ANUSA Election will run from 9am tomorrow, 19 August, until 12pm 22 August.

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