VERNet was established in November 2004 by the nine Victorian universities and CSIRO to design, deploy and manage an optic fibre network linking research and education sites across the state.
VERNet Pty Ltd was incorporated as a not-for-profit company limited by shares. The Company’s founding and current members are nine Victorian universities and CSIRO. The Company completed its start-up phase and became fully operational in May 2005 with the appointment of a permanent Board of Directors and a CEO.
The Board of Directors is responsible for the overall direction of VERNet and for delivering benefits to its shareholders consistent with the Company’s Shareholders’ Agreement and Constitution. The CEO, appointed by the Board, is responsible for the prudent and efficient operation of the company.
There are currently nine directors of the Company appointed by the Company’s shareholders with experience in higher education and information technology. Three are directors with activities independent of the shareholders, with experience in education, telecommunications and competition regulation and finance. The rules of the Company provide for regular rotation or re-appointment of directors.
The Board meets quarterly and has established three committees. The Audit and Risk Committee oversees the conduct of the company’s annual audit of financial and statutory accounts. Members of the committee where necessary, also advise the Board on financial or accounting issues. The HR Committee oversees senior appointments and performance of the management team. The VERNet Planning and Advisory Group’s (VPAG) objective is to provide a forum for the Company and its member institutions to collaborate on important issues. Membership is made up of the CIO or Director of IT of each Shareholder institution. The monthly meetings facilitate exchange of information between the Company and its customers and allow VERNet to consult members about proposed services, strategies and other matters of mutual interest. Members work with VERNet on the planning of the VERN, including providing advice on annual planning for network capacity, priorities, service requirements and new capital works.
The Company also consults regularly with representatives from the Department of Innovation, Industry, Science and Research (DIISR) and other stakeholders.