UOW considers funding Gong Shuttle

 Liberal Cameron Walters is one of a number of councillors planning to discuss funding the Gong Shuttle at the next Wollongong City Council meeting. Picture: Georgia Matts
Liberal Cameron Walters is one of a number of councillors planning to discuss funding the Gong Shuttle at the next Wollongong City Council meeting. Picture: Georgia Matts

The University of Wollongong hasn’t decided if it will contribute funding to keep the Gong Shuttle free.

On January 29, the NSW government will introduce fares for the shuttle, cutting back the subsidy it pays from 100 per cent to 75 per cent.

Wollongong City Council looks likely to fund half of that 25 per cent shortfall, with both major parties looking to raise the issue at next Monday’s council meeting.

Liberal councillor Cameron Walters has a motion calling for council to investigate the feasibility of council picking up some of that shortfall.

Also, the six Labor councillors have put forward a plan to pay $350,000 a year for the next three years.

READ MORE: Council plan to fund Gong Shuttle doesn’t impress everyone

While they have not drafted a motion at this stage, Deputy Lord Mayor David Brown said their plan will be debated at council – with one option being as an amendment to Cr Walters’ motion.

Cr Brown said the University of Wollongong was the “other probable player” when it came to funding the missing 12.5 per cent of the total cost.

A spokesman from the university said it was not yet ready to state whether it would reach into its own pockets for that extra money.

“We are in discussions with  council and the discussions are continuing,” the spokesman said.

The spokesman said he was not in a position to say when a decision could be expected but was aware of the January 29 date for the introduction of fares.

Meanwhile, NSW MPs Ryan Park and Paul Scully have welcomed the council’s move.

“The bottom line is that a multi-party rescue package will meet the primary objective of Ryan Park and myself of keeping the Gong Shuttle free from January 29 next year,” Mr Scully said.

“This is a good first step to a multi-party rescue package but it relies upon at least one other party to sign up and on the NSW government to fund 100 per cent of the service for around 150 more days beyond its proposed cut-off date – funding that is already in the Budget.”