Wollongong public servants can opt to work locally under new plan

By Shannon Jenkins

Wednesday February 3, 2021


Public servants living in Wollongong will be able to skip the daily commute to Sydney more often, with the New South Wales government having agreed to implement a proposal put forward by Labor MP Paul Scully last year.

Scully’s ‘Work from Wollongong’ plan, proposed in May 2020, suggested that space at the Wollongong State Office Block in Crown Street — or another location — could be used as an alternative workspace for local public servants to use while COVID-19 restrictions were lifted.

The option would mean that public servants wouldn’t have to commute to the Sydney CBD on a daily basis.

Water, property and housing minister Melinda Pavey wrote to Scully on Monday confirming that Wollongong would be included in the NSW Touchdown Office Network, “subject to securing the necessary government approval”.

“The network would provide the style of office accommodation to members of the public service that your ‘Work from Wollongong’ concept proposes,” Pavey wrote.

A touchdown space is an area that aims to “support flexible work practices for all government employees who need access to a workpoint for a set period of time”, according to the state government’s workplace design principles.

Read more: NSW Public Service Commission-backed research shows flexible work benefits

In a statement on Tuesday, Scully said he looked forward to working with Pavey to implement the plan as part of the touchdown office network, noting that the initiative would benefit the local economy as well as the bureaucrats.

“The response to the COVID-19 pandemic has provided an opportunity to re-think many things and the way we work must be high on that agenda,” the Member for Wollongong said.

“My ‘Work from Wollongong’ strategy benefits public sector workers who won’t have to commute regularly and it will reduce escape spending to Sydney while helping the local economy in Wollongong — supporting other local jobs. It also demonstrates to the private sector that this is a viable approach to working from Wollongong.

“The point I’ve made to the government is that working at a city location for public servants doesn’t necessarily mean it has to be in the Sydney CBD — it can also be in the Wollongong CBD.”

Read more: NSW public servants to return to offices soon, Berejiklian says


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