25 February, 2024
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Minns Government acts to freeze NSW public sector senior executive and politicians’ pay for two years

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The NSW Cabinet has approved legislation to freeze the pay of state MPs and public service senior executives for two years from 1 July 2023.

The bills will be introduced to NSW Parliament on Tuesday, as the Minns Labor Government acts to deliver on another election commitment. NSW Treasury estimates the moves will save taxpayers around $260 million over four years – funds that can instead be invested into essential services, like schools and hospitals.

Under the former government, the annual wages bill for senior executives across NSW government agencies, departments and state-owned corporations ballooned to around $1 billion a year. At the same time, the former government enforced a pay freeze on the frontline staff who deliver essential services to people across our state.

The Minns Labor Government is committed to ending the frontline worker pay freeze, while achieving responsible budget savings through a temporary freeze on senior executive salaries. The Minns Government is following through on its election commitment to rein in executive expenditure, regain budget control and invest more in frontline services. Senior executives covered by the freeze include departmental secretaries, agency chief executive officers, executive office holders, commissioners and judicial officers.

The senior executive and politician pay freeze was supported by both major parties ahead of the March 2023 state election. One bill will enforce the pay freeze on members of the Legislative Assembly and Legislative Council via the Parliamentary Remuneration Tribunal. The Parliamentary Remuneration Amendment Bill 2023 will amend the Parliamentary Remuneration Act 1989 and effectively freeze the basic salary of all parliamentarians – regardless of their political party – for two years.

The second bill will enact the senior executive freeze via the Statutory and Other Offices Remuneration Tribunal. The Statutory and Other Offices Remuneration Amendment Bill 2023 will amend the Statutory and Other Offices Remuneration Act 1975, and related regulations, to implement the pay freeze for senior executives. The Statutory and Other Officers Remuneration Tribunal determines the remuneration for senior public servants as well as judicial and non-judicial office holders. The Government’s bill will prevent the tribunal from awarding any increase in remuneration for two financial years.

Quotes attributable to Premier Chris Minns:

“We said we would freeze politicians pay and that’s what our bill does.

“We have inherited a challenging budget, but budgets are about priorities.

“Our priority is rebuilding our essential services and investing in frontline workers.”

Quotes attributable to Special Minister of State, The Hon. John Graham MLC:

“Our predecessors froze the pay packets of frontline workers, while senior executive salaries hit $1 billion.

“This is about reinvesting in the public service, reinvesting in essential workers. What we’re doing is capping the top end of the service to reinvest in front-line workers. This senior executive and politician wage cap will help us build capacity in the public sector and stop essential workers leaving the state.

“We value our public service leaders, and the work they do for our government and our state.

“This is a tough decision as we prioritise what is important.

“Twelve years of the Coalition created a ballooning executive wage bill yet a shortage of essential workers.

“The NSW Government offers some of the best pay for senior executives across the public sector nationally.

“Even with the wage freeze, NSW will continue to attract the best public service talent.”

Chris Minns

Premier of New South Wales

John Graham

Special Minister of State

Minister for Roads

Minister for the Arts

Minister for Jobs and Tourism

Minister for Music and Night-time Economy

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