University set aside $160,000 allowance for chauffered rides for Chancellor

These cars cost more than most of our degrees.

Photograph of Michael Spence, looking happy, photoshopped standing next to a fancy black car. In the background is an image is the 20's Art Deco print from the Great Gatsby movie in black and gold. Beep Beep

The University of Sydney has a contract worth over $100,000 which provides chauffeured cars for Chancellor Belinda Hutchinson and Vice-Chancellor Michael Spence between 2016 and 2018, according to information released under the Government Information (Public Access) Act.

The document reveals a contract between USyd and “The Trustee for Prestige Chauffeurs Trust” for “Corporate Car Services for Chancellor and Vice-Chancellor”.

The contractor name and business address matches that of Sydney-based company Prestige Chauffeurs, which guarantees “we will be on time, every time and will have you at your appointment or booking safer, quicker and with a greater level of comfort than anyone else in the industry.” Considering Spence is paid more than any other Vice-Chancellor in the industry, this choice in car service is, at least for him, on brand.

The contract came into effect on 1 July 2016 and will end on 30 June 2018. The estimated amount USyd will pay Prestige Chauffeurs Trust under the contract is $165,000.

The Government Information (Public Access) Act 2009 requires the University keep a Register of Government contracts of this nature between them and private sector entities worth $150,000 or more.

Prestige Chauffeurs Sydney offers a range of “luxury cars” for its clients, including the Holden Caprice, Audi A8, BMW 7 Series, and Bentley Flying Spur. These names probably mean more to those with a greater interest in automobiles than this reporter, but for any other novices out there, these cars cost more than most of our degrees.

The Sydney Morning Herald’s recent analysis of the government’s planned higher education overhaul shows universities will collectively lose $1.16 billion in funding over the next four years from a planned efficiency dividend. Perhaps Spence and Hutchinson will join us on Parramatta Road’s 440 come next year.