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Illawarra Labor MP's plan to save 160 UOW jobs

INSET: Ryan Park. Students at the main University of Wollongong campus.
INSET: Ryan Park. Students at the main University of Wollongong campus.

Illawarra's Labor MP's have come up with a plan they hope will save around 160 jobs at the University of Wollongong.

For this plan to succeed the NSW Treasurer has to waive the payroll tax for the financially struggling UOW.

COVID-19 and the associated economic crisis has hit the University of Wollongong hard as management attempt to fill a revenue shortfall of around $90 million this year and close to a projected $300 million over the next few years.

Shadow Minister for the Illawarra, Ryan Park said UOW was a key economic driver for the community and it was absolutely imperative that all possible action was taken to reduce the job losses and the devastating impact they would have on the entire region.

Mr Park said that the ongoing financial stability of the university was an issue beyond politics and he was pleased that the Government had met local Labor MP's on a number of occasions to try and progress this matter.

"Just like we did with BlueScope five years ago when they faced enormous economic challenges that were not of their own doing, all of us are prepared to work with the Treasurer and the Government to try and secure the financial support the university desperately needs right now," he said.

"We have had a number of productive conversations with the Treasurer and his office and I am pleased that they are prepared to examine the waiving of payroll tax for the university. Whilst no decision has been made we intend to continue to advocate for this measure because it's critical that we protect as many jobs as possible."

Just like we did with BlueScope five years ago when they faced enormous economic challenges that were not of their own doing, all of us are prepared to work with the Treasurer and the Government to try and secure the financial support the university desperately needs right now.

Shadow Minister for the Illawarra, Ryan Park

Member for Wollongong, Paul Scully, said UOW makes a multi-billion contribution to the NSW economy and employs people from Liverpool to the Victorian border.

"The employment multiplier means that more than 10,000 people are directly and indirectly supported by the university's operations.

"The Berejiklian Government has not exhausted many of its stimulus measures so some of those funds could be re-allocated to supporting payroll tax relief that will work together with any sacrifices that staff will make," Mr Scully said.

Member for Shellharbour, Anna Watson, said people of her electorate relied on the world class university.

"The economic consequences of the axing of potentially up to 350 jobs is simply too great to imagine and that is why we intend to fight as hard as we can to ensure the university can get through this challenging period and staff can keep their jobs," she said.

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This story Illawarra Labor MP's plan to save 160 UOW jobs first appeared on Illawarra Mercury.