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Public sector wage decision a kick in the guts for bushfire heroes

October 2, 2020

The Australian Workers Union has slammed the NSW Government’s cut to the wages of National Park firefighters who put life and limb on the line during the State’s bushfire disaster last summer.

The Industrial Relations Commission today awarded a paltry 0.3 per cent wage rise to public sector workers, after a case was brought by the NSW Government. The minuscule increase represents a cut in real terms.

AWU NSW Secretary, Dan Walton, said the decision was especially galling given the massive pay rise lavished on the Rural Fire Service Commissioner.

“The heroes of the worst bushfire in living memory deserve proper reward and recognition. Instead the Treasurer is scattering crumbs from the table.

“This is a horrendous decision. People who risked life and limb are getting three-tenths of bugger all. For most of our members in National Parks, Forestry Corporation and Park Air this will amount to three or four dollars a week.

“How can Dominic Perrottet cut the wages of firefighters who endured a life threatening furnace but hike the pay of the Commissioner by almost fifty thousand dollars?

“This unfair decision stinks to high heaven. It’s also economic stupidity. Firefighters on modest wages will spend any pay rise they receive. In regional communities this is especially important. It keeps money circulating in the local economy, providing an important lifeline for small business.”

Listen to National Secretary, Daniel Walton on ABC Radio here:

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