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NSW Treasurer backs away from exempting nurses from public service pay freeze

The Treasurer, however, declined to repeat the assurance in Question Time on Tuesday, and instead drew a comparison with the private sector which he said was “staring down the barrel” of a recession.

“There will be many people who never find a job again,” Mr Perrottet said in parliament on Tuesday.

NSW Treasurer Dominic Perrottet said no decision had been made on the government's wages policy, after foreshadowing last month that he would seek to freeze public servants' wages with the exception of frontline health care workers.

NSW Treasurer Dominic Perrottet said no decision had been made on the government’s wages policy, after foreshadowing last month that he would seek to freeze public servants’ wages with the exception of frontline health care workers.Credit:AAP

“It is the welfare of these families that we must consider as we take dollars from them to spend in the public sector.”

NSW Labor leader Jodi McKay said Mr Perrottet had an “ideological obsession” with the public service.

“Labor will not support this attack on the wages of our nurses, midwives, healthcare workers, police and teachers,” Ms McKay said. “These workers deserve a medal, not a pay cut.”

Meanwhile, it emerged on Tuesday that NSW Police Commissioner Fuller offered not to accept an $87,000 pay rise but the NSW government pressed ahead with it anyway.

A spokeswoman for Police Minister David Elliott said Commissioner Fuller had written to the government saying he was prepared to withdraw the request given the coronavirus crisis.

But Mr Elliott and Premier Gladys Berejiklian went ahead and sent the direction to the NSW Remuneration Tribunal.

The Greens announced they would move a motion in the upper house to reverse the decision.

Labor and the Shooters, Fishers and Farmers have agreed to support the motion, meaning it will likely be passed if it reaches a vote. But the government is seeking to have it ruled out of order, with a decision expected when Parliament returns in June.

Ms Berejiklian defended Mr Fuller’s salary increase as a decision which had been reached last year.

“I think it says a lot about the crossbench members that that is the biggest issue they think is impacting NSW at this moment,” Ms Berejiklian said.

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