400,000 Aussies score 2.5% pay rise in $2.7bn splash

NSW Treasurer Dominic Perrottet, an Australian ambulance, Australian nurses and Australian $100 and $50 notes.
NSW Treasurer Dominic Perrottet has announced wage increases for public servants (Source: Getty)

NSW Treasurer Dominic Perrottet has announced a pay rise for all public servants in the state, in an announcement ahead of the release of the NSW government budget.

There are 400,000 NSW public servants who will each receive a 2.5 per cent increase to their pay packets, with the possibility for high performing workers to receive even more.

It’s estimated this will cost the state $2.7 billion and cover public servants, nurses, police, paramedics and teachers.

“We are one of only two states that are providing 2.5 per cent pay increases,” Perrottet said on Monday afternoon. “This is a strong sign the NSW economy is back on track.”

Perrottet added that it was a difficult decision to cap wage increases last year, but said the decision was made in response to the devastating effect the COVID lockdowns had.

“At a time when the state was facing a potential 15 per cent unemployment rate, we all saw those confronting signs of many people standing outside Centrelink queues [when] many people lost their jobs,” he said.

“I'm pleased to say, because of the investments in the stimulus that we've made and the success of the economy here in New South Wales rebounding back, we've been able to lift wages to 2.5 per cent.”

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian said she recognised the sacrifices made by public servants and frontline workers and was pleased to be able to give them a pay rise.

“The New South Wales Government employs 400,000 public servants across the state. Each and every one of them have been critical for us during this period,” she said.

“We appreciate the sacrifice everybody took last year, and now we're really pleased to be in a position where we can reinstate those wages.”

Berejiklian said just because the new policy will give each worker a 2.5 per cent increase does not mean wage rises will be capped at those levels, and anyone who can prove they have done an outstanding job may receive more.

“NSW Government wages policy means that if categories of workers come to us and want higher than the 2.5 per cent, if they present a case where they're able to show additional efficiencies or show additional ways in which they're making a greater contribution, well then that can be assessed,” Berejikilian said.

“I just wanted to acknowledge all of the public servants across the state, in particular the frontline workers who've been outstanding and continue to be outstanding.”

The wage increases come at a time of sluggish wage growth with Reserve Bank governor Philip Lowe calling out businesses for having been too reliant on hiring foreign workers to keep costs low.

Thinktank Per Capita recently said low wages are threatening Australia’s economic recovery.

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