Member for Western Victoria
Derryn Hinch’s Justice Party

Adjournment Debate – Public Sector Wage Cap

Mr GRIMLEY (Western Victoria) (19:07): My adjournment matter is for the attention of the Treasurer. I have spoken many times in the chamber about the importance of our emergency services workers, those who serve on the frontline—police officers, firefighters and paramedics—in order to protect us. While all of us here sit in agreeance about their invaluable work, our emergency services workers continue to be let down by some aspects of the government—namely, the 2 per cent public sector wage cap that applies to state government employees. This is in direct contrast to the 11.8 per cent pay rise the Premier and some ministers received in September last year and the additional pay rise that we as members of Parliament also received. While I understand that the Treasurer announced this wage cap in order to keep the state budget in a sustainable position, this non-discretionary wage cap is simply not fair. While a wage cap on workers in some public departments may be understandable, there is simply no comparison between the work of a police officer and the work of an office employee at the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning. Both jobs are extremely important, but those working in a metropolitan departmental office from 9 to 5 each day can be confident of most likely returning home from work with no physical or mental injuries. The same cannot be said for our emergency services workers. I also note that the paramedics are calling for a new wage structure that delivers salary boosts to experienced paramedics in exchange for low annual increases, but the government has so far been unwilling to budge. Last year I commended Wayne Gatt and Police Association Victoria for staying firm on asking the government for a pay rise above the public wage cap. The minister and the police association worked constructively towards an agreement that was accepted by both parties. However, the public sector wage cap was reportedly a huge hurdle in achieving this. Given that the state’s emergency services workers are simply not just public employees, the action that I seek is for the minister to provide modelling about how much additional pressure it would put on the state budget if emergency services workers were excluded from the public sector wage cap, allowing pay rises of 3 per cent or 4 per cent per year, rather than the unimpressive 2 per cent.


Keep up with the latest
Western Victoria News.

Subscribe to my newsletter…

Enter your details to keep up to date with what I am doing in Parliament and in the community.