Tuesday, March 5, 2024

Premier unveils new PS wages policy

The WA Government has announced changes to its public sector wages policy, including a 3% wage increase per annum for two years in addition to a sector wide, one-off $2,500 cost of living payment where an agreement has been reached.

The new changes will take immediate effect for industrial agreement offers that have already been accepted.

This means for someone such as a Level 3 patient care assistant, whose annual salary is $55,322, will receive the equivalent of a 7.5% increase in the first year, inclusive of the one-off cost of living payment.

Part-time and casual public sector workers under the policy will also receive the same wage increases and a pro-rata cost of living payment.

“We’ve been listening and looking at it to ensure any adjustments that can be made to our public sector wages policy best respond to the current environment sensibly and reasonably,” said WA Premier, Mark McGowan in announcing the new policy today.

“Our public sector workers deserve this wage increase, and I am glad we can deliver it responsibly given our strong budget management.

“We’ve continued to look for ways to support workers, and that is why among a range of support measures already in place, we will provide a sector-wide one-off $2,500 cost of living payment, which will provide immediate assistance to WA public sector workers at a time when they most need it.

Latest figures released last week calculated Perth’s CPI at 6% in annual average terms over 2021-22, however, this figure is artificially higher due to the previous $600 WA household electricity credit – without the electricity sub-index included the figure is 5.1%.

Mr McGowan said the changes will benefit more than 150,000 public sector workers and are expected to cost $634 million over the next four years.

“I want to acknowledge the efforts and work of our entire public sector workforce and that is why the cost-of-living payment will go to every public sector worker not just one particular sector like in some of the other states,” the Premier said.

“There is a range of external issues at play such as the international events and global sanctions with energy and oil which have also heavily contributed to the increasing cost pressures on households in Australia, and we expect this will moderate in due course.”

WA Industrial Relations Minister, Bill Johnston said workers covered by industrial agreements based on the original policy announced in December 2021 will receive the difference and have the $2,500 cost of living payment paid in coming weeks.

WA public sector workers will also benefit from the 0.5% superannuation guarantee increase per annum, on top of the 3% annual wage increase.  

“The policy strikes the right balance and provides a significant pay increase for workers, given the current inflationary pressures,” said Mr Johnston.

“The current CPI is temporary and is expected to taper off over time.  

“Unions which have already accepted an offer under the original wages policy, announced in December 2021, will not miss out under these changes to bolster the State wages policy.

“It means the policy will apply to industrial agreements that had been accepted prior to these changes and workers will also receive these same benefits,” he said.

Annual salary3% wage increase and $2,500 cost of living payment (%)3% wage increase and $2,500 cost of living payment ($)

Note: 5.1% is the annual average Perth CPI growth for the 12 months to June 2022 (excluding electricity costs).

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