ABS data points to Public Pay Recovery Risk - UnionsWA

ABS data points to Public Pay Recovery Risk

UnionsWA has today commented on data released today by the Australian Bureau of Statistics showing that WA pay rises over the past year were at 1.4%, just below the national rate.  WA needs a skilled workforce.  This is hard data that labour market pressures stemming from low pay rises put at risk our recovery and pandemic response.

Owen Whittle, Secretary UnionsWA said:

“These are the first set of meaningful data to inform our on-going workforce response to the pandemic and to guide our economic recovery.

“There are warning signs here for all of us.

“Overall, pay rises have been modest over the past year, nationally at 1.5% and WA lagging behind that at only 1.4%.

“A strong response to, and a strong economic recovery from the pandemic relies on a skilled workforce.

“To attract and retain skilled workers, we need competitive pay.

“This data shows that while the private sector wage growth is at a low 1.5%, WA’s public sector pay is the weakest in the nation rising at only 0.9%.

Watch Owen Whittle address media on this issue.


“We can’t afford an economic recovery that fails to improve pay.

“We need to ensure that everyone’s pay improves during our recovery.

“Not only is WA public sector pay uncompetitively low compared with the WA private sector, it’s also falling behind compared with public sector pay increases in Victoria, Queensland, South Australia and Tasmania.

“This underperformance of public sector pay in WA makes the task of attracting and retaining a skilled workforce that much harder.

“Over many decades, WA’s economic growth has relied on attracting into our public and private sectors from interstate and overseas those who are highly skilled.

“That mobile workforce could move on if WA doesn’t heed the warnings from this data.

”This hard data highlights the weakness of the current State Wages Policy and is a warning for the need to urgently improve pay outcomes.

Further information

The ABS data series, Wage Price Index, Australia March 2021 is available online here.

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