Wages restraint crucial to WA budget repair

Curbing public sector wage growth is crucial to repairing Western Australia’s state finances, says WA’s peak business advocate.

The Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Western Australia (CCI) has welcomed Premier Mark McGowan’s new wages policy and wage freeze, which the government estimates will save $518 million in total.

Wages in the public service account for 45 per cent of WA general government sector expenses – or $13.6 billion, out of a total state budget of $29.9 billion.

CCI Chief Economist Rick Newnham said the government’s new wages policy was a strong step forward towards getting the budget under control.

“Public sector wages are the single biggest area of government expenditure, so it is vital that the WA Government is able to get wage growth under control,” Mr Newnham said.

“This new wages policy will go a long way to bringing the WA budget back to a stable position. This will be vital to regain the AAA credit rating and attract new business investment – new business investment means more big projects coming on line, more money injected into WA’s economy and more jobs for workers.

“WA has a critical cash problem and when you have limited taxpayer dollars to spend, no area of state expenditure should escape rigorous scrutiny – amid challenging economic conditions, the private sector has had to make some very tough decisions, so it is very encouraging that the State Government has stuck to their election commitment to do the same.

“The WA business community commends Premier Mark McGowan, Treasurer Ben Wyatt and Minister for Commerce and Industrial Relations Bill Johnston for implementing this new wages policy and CCI looks forward to working with the WA Government on further savings measures in future.”

Media contact: Kate Hodges – 0448 928 227