UOW considering its response
The University of Wollongong (UOW) welcomes the efforts made by representative vice-chancellors and the National Tertiary Education Union to negotiate a national framework to help the higher education sector deal with the unprecedented financial challenges brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The framework deals with some complex issues at a national, sector-wide level and offers a range of temporary, short-term responses that attempt to cater for a range of university sizes and varied financial impacts.
UOW acknowledges the value of a national framework in these times, but also remains deeply aware that each university must consider its own unique financial circumstances, stakeholder needs and medium or long-term implications when determining its response.
UOW is analysing this national framework in the context of its own circumstances and long-term strategic outlook.
UOW is experiencing a significant financial impact from COVID-19 pandemic, including losses from a decline in student accommodation occupancy and the sharp reduction in international students arising from closed borders. Both of these impacts are not short-term and will flow through to future years.
UOW anticipates 2020 losses will leave a budget shortfall of about $90 million and anticipates that this 2020 deficit will compound in subsequent years. This scenario is highly likely due to the scale of the global recession and ongoing limitations of movement of people across international borders.
Since early February, UOW has been acting to establish a sustainable financial position to ensure our ability to influence outcomes in the next 12 months and through until 2022 is not compromised.
UOW is committed to working closely with all staff covered by its two employment agreements and will ensure any changes to employment arrangements are subject to the prescribed consultation processes.
UOW maintains working relationships with both unions representing its staff-the NTEU and the Community and Public Sector Union (CPSU)-and recognises the diverse range of stakeholders to be considered as we seek to protect the quality of our student experience while preserving employment for as many staff as possible.