Camden MP Peter Sidgreaves thinks wage freeze is good policy

Camden MP Peter Sidgreaves believes the Liberal and National Party state government's decision to freeze the wages of frontline public sector workers was necessary and good policy.

A report this week criticised the government's wage cut policy, saying that for every $1 million invested in public worker wages two additional private sector jobs are created. In contrast, that same amount invested in construction would only create one additional job.

Shadow Minister for Western Sydney Greg Warren questioned why the government wanted to take money out of workers' pockets.

Mr Sidgreaves said all impacts were considered before the wage freeze was brought to parliament.

"After careful consideration of the negative and positive impacts of a 12-month freeze to the pay of Public Sector workers I support the NSW Government's decision," he said.

"I say this with the greatest respect and appreciation to the Public Sector workers, especially nurses, midwives, doctors, paramedics, firefighters, police officers, teachers and other front line workers".

"My decision was not made lightly. I have considered the exceptional work by Public Sector frontline workers during the bushfire and COVID periods. I have also considered the significant economic impacts on the Australian (now in a recession), NSW, and local economies and the financial and emotional impact to residents, families, and businesses in Camden and the Macarthur region."

Workers have said they feel the freeze is a 'slap in the face' to them as they have been on the front line throughout the COVID - 10 pandemic.

However, Mr Sidgreaves dismissed that concern and said he supported the $1000 one-off payment to workers if they took the pay cut.

"Public Sector workers have received a 2.5 per cent pay increase each year for the past eight years," he said.

"This increase in pay is higher than inflation and higher than in the Private Sector.

"Having said this, I do support the NSW government's offer of a $1,000 payment for non-executive frontline workers in recognition of their exceptional work during the bushfire season and the unprecedented COVID crisis".

Mr Warren questioned why the state government wanted to make it harder for workers to put food on the family table.

"A report this week criticised the government's wage cut policy," he said.

"It makes sense to invest in our public workers because those workers spend their wages in local businesses. It's proven to support jobs in retail, hospitality, and even at the hairdresser.

"The report's author said cutting workers' wages to fund infrastructure might accelerate job losses in retail, hospitality and tourism."

Mr Warren said despite Labor successfully stopping the wage cut in parliament, the fight is far from over.

"Premier Gladys Berejiklian will attempt to secure these wage cuts through the industrial umpire," he said.

"Labor will fight the Berejiklian Government every step of the way. Our nurses, cleaners, police and firefighters are heroes. They deserve a medal, not a pay cut.

"The Berejiklian Government's worker wage cut will rip $1 billion a year from the state's economy and affect more than 400,000 people in NSW, including 6,897 workers in the Camden electorate."

Mr Sidgreaves said it was important to remember that during the COVID-19 period to date 221,000 jobs have been lost in NSW and over 250,000 people in NSW are on Job Keeper.

"During the same time frame, public servants have had their jobs guaranteed," he said.

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