UWS urges NSW Government to drop $96 million tax on cash-strapped universities

Date: 18/09/2002

The University of Western Sydney (UWS) today called on the NSW Government to abolish payroll tax on universities.

"The University of Western Sydney questions why private schools are exempt from the tax while cash-strapped public universities are taxed by the State Government," UWS Acting Vice-Chancellor Robert Coombes said.

"Universities in NSW paid a total of $96 million to the State Government in payroll tax last year while the same Government only contributed $15 million in grants to the universities," Professor Robert Coombes said.

The Government needs to explain to University students why private education is supported with tax exemptions but students attending publicly funded universities suffer the effects of a six per cent payroll tax.

"The University of Western Sydney is out of pocket by about $10 million a year because of this anomaly. This money would make an enormous difference in further enhancing students' learning experiences at UWS, " Professor Coombes said.

According to UWS, the extra funds could be spent on cutting class sizes, improving campus security, setting up new computer laboratories and better library facilities for the University's 36,000 students.

"The State Government benefits greatly from having a new, growing university in western Sydney which provides excellent educational opportunities for the people in this important region, as well as cutting edge research facilities. The State Government could invest in the University and the region by abolishing this tax.

"At a time when universities are grappling with the cumulative impact of reduced government funding support, this is one tangible way the State can help institutions in NSW," Professor Coombes said.

Media contact:
Mikael Kjaerbye
UWS Media Manager
Ph: 02 9678 7418
Mob 0405 356 021
Email: m.kjaerbye@uws.edu.au