Annual reports

Our annual reports record our strategic direction, activities, achievements, governance and financial position from 1 January to 31 December each year.

These reports are tabled in the Victorian Parliament and then published as a public record of the University's strategic direction, activities, achievements, governance and financial position.

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2021 Annual Report

2021 was not the year anyone expected but RMIT continued to navigate the challenges of managing a COVID environment. Download our annual report to read more. 

Annual Report 2021 statement

2021 was not the year anyone anticipated and our enthusiasm for a careful return to pre-COVID University life was quickly replaced with a very demanding reality.

Despite a constantly shifting landscape, RMIT remained focused on our promise to educate, to research and to create impact. 

As we move further into 2022 we will draw on our well-honed resilience as we continue to navigate the challenges of managing a COVID environment, driven by our belief in the transformative power of education and our commitment to be deeply relevant to the communities we are part of.

2021 Financial summary

The consolidated 2021 net operating result for RMIT and its controlled entities (RMIT Vietnam, RMIT Online, RMIT Training and RMIT Spain) was a surplus of $117.1 million. 

In 2021, consolidated Group revenue of $1.56 billion was 9% above the budget target, while Earnings before Interest Tax and Depreciation (EBITDA) of $252.4 million was above the budget target by 69%.

While it is pleasing to see the University return to surplus in 2021, it should be noted that the key contributors to this result were a one-off gain of $58.6 million on the sale of Building 108 in Melbourne’s CBD and stronger than expected growth from RMIT Vietnam ($55 million surplus) due to increased local demand and students remaining in country to study.

Other factors driving this outcome included the decline in international student numbers being somewhat slower than predicted and the sustained and purposeful reduction in our operating expenses. 

RMIT Community 

In 2021, RMIT had close to 10,000 staff globally and over 96,000 students studying at campuses in Australia and internationally. 

We are extremely proud of our diverse community and recognise the important role our campuses play in supporting a vibrant culture as they return to life after the pandemic.

While some international students have been able to return to campus for the start of Semester 1 2022, we anticipate a slow and steady return

Where students are facing challenges returning, RMIT will continue to provide online options to support them in progressing their studies.

 

Highlights

Diversity and Inclusion

RMIT was named as an Employer of Choice for Gender Equality (EOCGE) from the Workplace Gender Equality Agency (WGEA) in 2021, for the fourth year. This recognition acknowledges RMIT’s effort to develop a gender-balanced workforce, support pay equity, provide supports for parents and carers, mainstream flexible ways of working and prevent gender-based harassment.

Female representation in all senior roles continued to grow in 2021, up from 33% in 2015 to 45% in 2021.

In 2021 we developed the University’s next Gender Equality Action Plan (2022-2035) following an exhaustive process of analysis and review. The new plan provides a clear vision for driving improvement and progression in gender equality. 

RMIT was also recognised for the third year as one of the Top Performers in the Australian Network on Disability’s (AND) 2020-2021 Access and Inclusion Index, and was re-accredited as a Disability Confident Recruiter in recognition of our commitment to supporting accessibility in every stage of the employee lifecycle.

Reconciliation

2021 was the final year of RMIT’s second Reconciliation Plan, Dhumbah Goorowa. While a number of strategically important initiatives in the plan were not completed due to COVID lockdowns, these have now been moved into 2022.

A highlight of 2021 was the announcement of the University’s first Pro-Vice-Chancellor Indigenous Education, Research and Engagement, Professor Gary Thomas.

RMIT will continue to progress the development of its Indigenous Research Strategy and Indigenous workforce development initiatives under Professor Thomas’s leadership in 2022.

Sustainability

RMIT is a national and global leader in sustainability and was ranked 3rd in the world in the 2021 Times Higher Education Impact Rankings, which assess universities’ progress against the 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Since finalising the 2021 annual report, RMIT has brought forward its carbon neutral target by five years to 2025 after achieving the biggest on-site emissions reduction of any tertiary institution in Australia.

The University has cut its carbon emissions by 74% since 2007 through renewable energy, efficiency upgrades and other initiatives to reduce and remove carbon across its operations.

Research and partnerships

RMIT had an outstanding year for research and innovation in 2021, despite the prolonged challenges of the pandemic. 

We worked closely with industry and government to drive new products, technologies and services across crucial areas including health and aged care, the management of Australia’s biosolids and unrecyclable waste, and the emerging digital finance sector.

A collaboration with AARNET and Amazon Web Service saw the establishment of Australia’s first cloud supercomputing facility which will help our researchers address some of the world’s most complex challenges in far less time.

 

Outlook

After two years of international border closures, RMIT expects continued impact on international onshore student numbers in the short term. Put simply, lower numbers of commencing onshore international students in 2020-2022 equates to lower returning international students through a typical three-year cycle of study. 

Likewise, there is a significant degree to which the University’s decreased operating costs are the result of an absence of campus life which will not continue to be the case – and nor would we wish it to be. We will continue to invest in our future to support our next strategy and our growth aspirations, while managing our costs. 

There’s no doubt that the measures we took in 2020 and 2021 to manage our cost base and cash position, although deeply challenging, put us on the sustainable path we intended. 

Previous annual reports

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Acknowledgement of country

RMIT University acknowledges the people of the Woi wurrung and Boon wurrung language groups of the eastern Kulin Nation on whose unceded lands we conduct the business of the University. RMIT University respectfully acknowledges their Ancestors and Elders, past and present. RMIT also acknowledges the Traditional Custodians and their Ancestors of the lands and waters across Australia where we conduct our business - Artwork 'Luwaytini' by Mark Cleaver, Palawa.

aboriginal flag
torres strait flag

Acknowledgement of country

RMIT University acknowledges the people of the Woi wurrung and Boon wurrung language groups of the eastern Kulin Nation on whose unceded lands we conduct the business of the University. RMIT University respectfully acknowledges their Ancestors and Elders, past and present. RMIT also acknowledges the Traditional Custodians and their Ancestors of the lands and waters across Australia where we conduct our business.