WA Premier Mark McGowan has offered public sector workers a three per cent wage increase plus a $2500 sweetener amid a backlash from a burnt-out police force.
Mr McGowan on Sunday said his government would offer workers a 3 per cent wage increase for the next two years plus a one-off cost-of-living payment.
“Today‘s announcement continues my government’s commitment to delivering cost of living relief for Western Australians and our hard working public sector workers,” Mr McGowan said.
“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.”
“Our base pay rate is more generous than New South Wales, it’s more generous than Victoria, and I think it better reflects the expectations of the workforce,” he said.
“And certainly for this year — for the vast majority of the workforce — it’s significantly above the inflation rate.
“We have significant competition for labour. It’s important we have a very vibrant, very successful economy, that we have a well-rewarded workforce, that we resolve these EBA issues, and we get back to the business of service delivery.”
The government said part-time and casual workers would receive the same wage increases and a pro-rate one-off payment.
The offer affects more than 150,000 public sector workers and will cost $634 million over the next four years.
The WA Police Union had recently described as insufficient an offer of a 2.5 per cent per year raise plus a $1000 one-off payment.
In recent months the union had criticised both the WA Police and government over a survey which found morale had plummeted and that the force was facing an exodus of officers.
The union said that last year 340 police officers left the force because of mental health concerns and stresses on work-life balance.
They cited Australian Bureau of Statistics numbers which said Perth’s consumer price index had soared 7.4 per cent in the year to June and 15 per cent since McGowan took power in March 2017.
The union dismissed suggestions that officers were departing the force to take up jobs in the resource sector.
They said of 126 departing officers who took part in a survey, only one said they were moving into the resources sector.
“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,” Mr McGowan said.