TASMANIA'S university will move on with plans to shut sections of the Australian Maritime College despite public assurances to the contrary.
University of Tasmania provost professor David Rich confirmed yesterday that AMC staff had been told on Monday of a plan for the its key National Centre for Marine Conservation and Resource Sustainability to become part of a university faculty next year.
"The university is looking to strengthen its global reputation in the maritime and marine areas - part of this proposal is to incorporate NCMCRS into the faculty of science, engineering and technology," Professor Rich said.
The national marine conservation centre was formed in 2008 at the time of the AMC's merger with the university.
It gets more than $300,000 a year in federal funding for its international research program.
Professor Rich's announcement at Monday's specially convened meeting came the week after AMC staff had been assured by vice-chancellor Peter Rathjen that no decisions had been made on the future of the national marine conservation centre.
But copies of university memos obtained by The Examiner show that Professor Rich and policy and research professor Paddy Nixon told the university's senior management team last month that the centre should be "disestablished".
Last week's meeting was called after AMC executives met university chiefs and federal government representatives to heal a rift in relations between the institutions.
AMC chairman David Sterrett had told federal Transport Minister Anthony Albanese that the university was trying to dismantle the AMC, including reducing its power to that of a university faculty.
Professor Rich said yesterday that the marine conservation centre was one of three national centres at the AMC.
He said that the proposal to move it into the university faculty would provide more secure funding arrangements and closer alignment with the overall teaching and research profile of the university.
National Tertiary Education Union Tasmanian industrial officer Rob Binnie said that there were concerns for both AMC staff and students with the move.
"The centre gives them international recognition and brings research together from around the globe so that it's very important that it remains intact," Mr Binnie said.
"We are deeply concerned that this move will destabilise the AMC."
Another key marine centre at the university also faces a shake- up in the latest proposal.
The August memo from professors Rich and Nixon proposes that aquaculture should be redeveloped again.