NSW Labor has written to the Deputy Premier John Barilaro, demanding he guarantee there’ll be no more job cuts at regional universities which are struggling during the COVID-19 pandemic.
There are fears five institutions including Charles Stuart University, Southern Cross University, University of New England, University of Newcastle and the University of Wollongong will shed hundreds of staff as they review their operations and the prospect of closing satellite campuses.
The National Tertiary Education Union estimates 30,000 jobs will be axed nationally and up to 10,000 NSW university workers could lose their jobs.
In her letter to John Barilaro, Labor Deputy Leader and Shadow Minister for Rural and Regional jobs, Yasmin Catley, said: “Our university sector is the lifeblood of many regional towns. Our regional universities directly employ thousands of people across the state. They indirectly support many more, with their staff and students living, working and spending money in regional towns.”
“Campus closures and job cuts will devastate regional towns. It is absolutely vital the Government guarantee that there will be no campus closures and no further job cuts at regional universities.
“This sector is vital to our regional economy and the best they can come up with is telling them to go and get a commercial loan? It’s not good enough.”
The Shadow Minister for Tertiary Education, Clayton Barr said: “The government is doing nothing to protect 10,000 university sector jobs across NSW, including hundreds of regional positions.
“Campus closures and job cuts will devastate towns. A responsible Government should invest in research and infrastructure, not simply offer to underwrite bank loans for infrastructure projects that will create jobs mainly for men.
“The NSW Government is failing Universities that employ men and women across a broad range of jobs.”
The Shadow Minister for Rural Affairs, Mick Veitch, said: “This will have a lasting impact on regional communities. Not just on university workers and their families but on small businesses and other services that depend on them.
“Once again, the Deputy Premier and his team has failed these communities.”