The University of Wollongong has hit out at claims it has slashed 400 jobs.
Member for Gosford Liesl Tesch cited the figure in a speech in NSW Parliament last week, where she called for the state and federal governments to increase financial support to Australia's university sector.
The University of Wollongong was reluctant to comment on the August 3 speech.
A spokesman said only "the university appreciates the support already provided to universities by the state and federal governments and will continue to work with both levels of government on any future initiatives to assist the sector".
UOW however rejected Ms Tesch's claim that up to 400 jobs had been slashed at the university.
Management, however, may still have to shed 150 jobs after a union-negotiated deal was recently signed.
In an effort to save as many jobs as possible, staff agreed to take a wage reduction and receive no pay rises for the next two years.
"UOW management has worked with unions through UOW's Joint Consultative Committee to establish variations to current employment agreements that will help minimise job losses as UOW confronts the financial impact of the COVID-19 pandemic," the spokesman said.
Meantime, Ms Tesch's speech highlighted the need to support a sector which was the "driving force" of the country's economy.
Contributing $39 billion in export income each year to the national economy, education is Australia's third largest export industry.
A healthy university sector is critical to the economic recovery of our nation and our state. So why are universities being ignored by both the state and federal governments in the economic response to the current pandemic?Member for Gosford, Liesl Tesch
"A healthy university sector is critical to the economic recovery of our nation and our state. So why are universities being ignored by both the state and federal governments in the economic response to the current pandemic?" Ms Tesch asked.
The Labor MP said the university sector had not been exempt from the hardship brought about by COVID-19, with estimates that more than 21,000 jobs will be lost across Australia
"Universities are not asking for a handout from the government, instead the sector is desperately seeking help to prop up an industry that contributes $5 back to the NSW economy for every $1 invested.
"Instead of supporting universities through such tough times, the federal government has devastated our universities in the non-delivery of JobKeeper to this sector.
"While the NSW government announced a $750 million rescue package in commercial loans and $100 million in payroll tax, it is small compared with what was given to support universities in Victoria in the form of a $400 million rescue package and a $110 million payroll tax deferral."
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