Described as a global first for the tertiary education sector, the UTAS study has investigated the likely impacts of increasing world oil prices on its business operations staff and student population. (Download the study here.)
In so doing UTAS is the first significant non-government institution in Tasmania to incorporate rising oil prices seriously in its business risk assessments, thus providing a leadership model whereby other Tasmanian businesses and institutions can incorporate oil price into their business risks.
UTAS is a major institution and a sizable business operation, having several campus sites and 27,000 students (6,000 international students) representing 80 countries.
What are the risks to UTAS from Peak Oil?
Like other universities, UTAS has lower exposure to high oil prices than some other organisations of a similar size, however significant vulnerabilities exist, including:
• Rising personal expenditure on fuel for staff and student travel to campus
• Increased fuel costs for UTAS vehicle fleet
• Higher aviation costs
• Reduction in international student numbers triggered by slower global economic conditions
• Threats to funding caused by negative economic conditions.
The Australian tertiary sector comprises 39 universities, enrolling over one million students and employing over 100,000 staff.
City of Stirling adds its weight
Meanwhile, yet another major local council has conducted a Peak Oil Assessment. Perth’s largest local government precinct the City of Stirling has released its “Oil Risk Strategy”.
Written in clear language, the Strategy assesses “the vulnerability of the City and its communities to the impacts of higher oil prices triggered by global oil depletion (Peak Oil) and the possibility of temporary oil supply disruptions. It provides a ‘roadmap’ to building a more secure and resilient future in the face of growing uncertainty around future global oil availability and pricing.”