On the up: Senior bureaucrats set for pay rises in the budget

Eighteen months after Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk promised Senior Officers a pay rise, they will get it and more. Senior Executives will also be better off.

Jun 11, 2021, updated Jun 11, 2021
There are doubts over the level of transparency applied to meetings between government officials and lobbyists paid by private companies. (Supplied)

There are doubts over the level of transparency applied to meetings between government officials and lobbyists paid by private companies. (Supplied)

The tentative pay deal between the Palaszczuk government and the Together union comes after the Queensland Industrial Relations Commission signed off on a separate core agreement for more than 60,000 public servants in March.

That agreement, delivering as many as four successive increases of 2.5 per cent, set a precedent for the pandemic era, even though it was being negotiated beforehand. It even prompted the Remuneration Tribunal to recently lift a freeze on politicians’ pay, granting MPs a series of pay rises up to 2.5 per cent.

But the union was outraged that more than 1,000 Senior Officers – who, in December 2019, were promised a 2.5 per cent pay rise by the Premier – were slipping further behind. They have not received a pay rise since September 2017, and some were put in the extraordinary position of having to manage staff paid more than them.

Palaszczuk on Friday wrote to the union to not only honour her 2019 commitment but match the core agreement pay rises. That will deliver Senior Officers a backdated 2.5 per cent increase on July 1 – after the public sector freeze, or wage deferral period has ended – and additional 2.5 per cent increases on September 1, March 1 next year and September 1 next year. The future pay rises will also apply to members of the Senior Executive.

“By delivering a strong fiscal agenda, my government will continue to support Queensland’s recovery from the economic impacts of COVID-19,” Palaszczuk wrote.

“However, I can assure you that providing for fair and equitable remuneration across the public sector remains a priority. In balancing these considerations, my government continues to ensure our valued public sector workforce is supported to deliver the essential frontline services Queenslanders deserve.”

Together Queensland branch secretary Alex Scott told InQueensland it was important to keep striving for relativity in pay and conditions across the public service.

“We certainly welcome the government’s decision to flow on the commitments made to Senior Officers a number of years ago,” Scott said.

The union had been gearing up for an industrial campaign against the Labor government if the increases were not forthcoming.

Treasurer Cameron Dick confirmed additional funding to pay public servants had been set aside in the budget, including to resolve the issue with Senior Officers. He would not provide a dollar figure but suggested it would not impact on the bottom line as it had been anticipated.

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