13 April 2020

NSW looks to follow Feds and freeze public sector wage increases

| Dominic Giannini
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NSW Treasurer Dominic Perrottet says he will be looking at legislation to freeze the pay of politicians and state public servants. Photo: Dom Perrottet Facebook.

NSW Treasurer Dominic Perrottet said he would be looking at legislation to freeze the pay of politicians and state public servants before a scheduled 2.5 per cent pay rise from 1 July after the Commonwealth Government moved to defer Australian Public Sector (APS) pay increases for six months.

“I do not think any public servant in this environment, when you have got people struggling to remain in work, should be getting a pay rise unless you are a frontline health worker,” he said.

“It is not fair and you would want to socially distance yourself from any politician who thinks they should get a pay rise in this environment.”

The ACT Government has confirmed that it will not freeze the pay of its public service workers. The ACT Health Minister, Rachel Stephen-Smith, told reporters on Thursday (9 April) that the Government would absolutely not take money away from frontline staff.

“From our nurses who are on the frontline ensuring that we are able to address COVID-19 across our health system, to our child protection workers who are working really hard to keep kids safe in difficult and new environments, we would absolutely not be looking to freeze the pay of our public service workforce,” Ms Stephen-Smith said.

“We will be looking to continue to pay them and deliver pay rises in accordance with the enterprise agreements that we already have in place and renewing any agreements that are coming up for renewal.”

Assistant Minister to the Prime Minister and Cabinet Ben Morton announced the APS pay freeze this morning.

Mr Morton said the Government appreciated all the work the APS has done, but it is important that it also helps share the economic burden.

“The APS remains a critical part of our efforts to minimise the impacts on COVID-19 on the Australian economy for workers and their families,” Mr Morton said.

“Our intention is to return to what has been a very successful public sector wages policy as soon as is possible, but we will continue to monitor the economic outlook and respond as necessary.

“Everyone from the Prime Minister down appreciates the outstanding work the APS is doing.”

The wage increase deferral will start on 14 April and will remain in effect for 12 months. Any employee with an upcoming raise will have the increase deferred for six months.

ACT Senator Katy Gallagher said Labor had noted the decision, adding that the pay freeze would come as a disappointment to hardworking public servants.

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