NSW Government rebuilding essential services with pay offer that respects workers, gives certainty to families


The NSW Labor Government has delivered a wages offer to recruit, reward and retain essential workers, with a 10.5% increase that outpaces forecast inflation, along with a cost-of-living supplement.

More than 400,000 employees would benefit from the offer to public sector workers.

It includes:

  • a 10.5% pay increase over 3 years (inclusive of superannuation)
  • annual $1000 ‘cost-of-living’ protection payment if inflation exceeds 4.5% in that year
  • a collaborative approach to bargaining, which includes negotiating productivity gains, and the right to have the independent umpire assess and determine union and department claims.

This landmark proposal meets or is higher than public sector wage offers currently available in other states, and gives certainty to public sector workers and their families across NSW for the first time in more than a decade.

It was budgeted for in 2023 as part of the Essential Services Fund.

It is the next major step in upholding Labor’s election promise to fairly pay essential workers, including hospital staff, school staff and all other public sector employees.

This consistent approach to baseline wage increases, across the sector, will allow negotiations between Government agencies and unions to focus on identifying productivity reforms and offsets in exchange for further pay increases. This will further strengthen services for the people of NSW.

Crucially, unions and agencies can now sit down to find these mutually-agreed improvements during the life of an agreement – something unavailable under the former government.

The NSW Labor Government has now delivered on its election mandate to scrap the unfair wages cap, to build a new bargaining stream for genuine negotiation with frontline workers, and to provide recourse to an independent Industrial Relations Commission.

The offer delivers wages growth that would beat projected increases in the cost-of-living over the next 3 financial years, as measured by the Sydney Consumer Price Index.

The cost-of-living payment is unavailable to senior executives – whose salaries, along with those of members of parliament, remain frozen.

The offer includes a 0.5% structural adjustment pay rise that is not available to those who have recently entered into work value agreements.

Treasurer Daniel Mookhey said:

“This is about giving certainty for hard working families across NSW, with a 3-year offer to see pay and conditions improve.

“It creates a new, fair framework that can deliver a better outcome for everyone.”

Minister for Industrial Relations Sophie Cotsis said:

“We said we would scrap the wages cap – and we did. We promised to deliver certainty – and we have.

“After 12 years of neglect – of no industrial relations reforms and no award reforms – we are now fixing the system.

“The work of rebuilding essential services is now well underway.

“This baseline offer, lays the foundation for a fairer system for workers and their families in NSW.”

/Public Release. View in full here.