Labor is demanding the Government provide a survival package for the tertiary education sector to protect the one in five university jobs at risk during the pandemic.
NSW Labor Leader Jodi McKay and the Shadow Minister for Tertiary Education and Innovation Clayton Barr visited the University Of New South Wales with representatives from the National Tertiary Education Union to launch a petition calling on the Government to save university jobs.
Ms McKay said: “Universities employ 100,000 people across NSW. One in five of those positions are now at risk. This is about saving jobs and livelihoods. The Premier can’t ignore the enormity of the crisis.”
Universities are reeling from the loss of international students and thousands of jobs will be shed at institutions across NSW, including:
- The University of New South Wales – Almost 500 jobs, or 7.5% of the workforce.
- The University of Wollongong – 150 staff across its campuses.
- The University of New England – More than 200 job cuts in Armidale
- The University of Technology Sydney – Expected to cut 400 – 500 staff.
These job cuts are in addition to the thousands of people on casual and fixed term contracts who’ve lost work.
Mr Barr said: “The minor financial support measures the Government has announced are nothing near the scale required to make any meaningful impact, or anywhere close to the $460 million rescue package announced by the Victorian Government.
“The universities are doing everything they can to stem these cuts, but even with every other saving measure available to them they still have to cut thousands of jobs. The Premier must immediately develop a plan with the universities to ensure no job is lost from the public university system and use her power as the Premier to ensure the Federal Government funds universities appropriately.”
The Member for Heffron Ron Hoenig said: “The University of New South Wales plays a pivotal role in my electorate, not just employing staff but providing customers for cafes and restaurants. 500 people have lost their jobs already, which will have a devastating impact, so we cannot afford to lose any more jobs – the Government must step in with a survival package.”
The Member for Coogee Marjorie O’Neill said: “This is about saving jobs and people’s livelihoods. There are people who won’t be able to pay the rent or buy groceries because of these cuts. It will also have flow on effect on small businesses and other services that depend on university workers and their families.”
The Member for Maroubra Michael Daley said: “The Government is failing universities that employ men and women across a broad range of jobs. This will have a lasting impact across my electorate and communities across the state.”