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The NSW Government’s push to freeze public sector wages has been blocked

Over recent days, there has been a lot of talk about the Berejiklian Government and their plans to freeze wages within the public sector. 

Now, conservative cross-benchers have joined Labor to put a stop to the proposed wage freezes for a huge array of public servants.

public sector wage freeze
Photo: RHETT WYMAN

Public servants, including nurses, teachers, police, and paramedics were facing a wage 12-month freeze which has now been blocked.

Parties including One Nation, as well as the Shooters, Fishers and Farmers party supported Labor’s motion to overturn wage freeze regulations proposed by the Berejiklian government, with Christian Democrats MP Fred Nile being the only cross-bencher to vote with the Coalition.

The defeat in the upper house is a significant blow which is set to force the government to the Commission on Thursday, where the industrial umpire may be required to help resolve the standstill over the 12-month wage freeze. If the issue is not resolved soon, a number of problems may arise concerning wages and public sector awards. 

The Berejiklian Government claims that the wage freeze would save approximately $3 billion which could be used to invest in other items including job creation and infrastructure. Regarding the issue NSW Treasurer Dominic Perrottet stated:

“It’s a sad day when Labor and the crossbench show as little regard as they have today for the thousands lining up outside Centrelink and approaching charities for food hampers, because they can no longer afford to put food on the table. This has been the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression and our focus has to be on kick-starting our recovery with more jobs, jobs, jobs. This hasn’t been an easy decision but it is fair and it’s the right decision right now.”

As the nation buckles down for what is the start of Australia’s first recession in 29 years, only time will tell whether the government has made the right choice.