NSW State Budget

What does the 2022 NSW State Budget mean for workers?

The cost of living is soaring and wages aren’t keeping up. With a state election in 9 months, the NSW Premier has made a lot of flashy announcements leading into the 2022 state Budget. But wages, food, rent and tolls can’t be paid for with pre-budget announcements placed in the media by the NSW Government.

Now that the NSW Budget is out, let’s remove the spin of those media announcements and break down what’s really in the budget – and what it means for you.

Wages and Cost of Living

Secure Jobs

Public Services: Schools, Hospitals and more


Wages and Cost of Living


– Inflation is forecast to hit 5.5%

– The NSW Government has locked in a public sector pay cap which prevents wages keeping up with inflation

– The average public sector worker will experience a real wage cut of $2142

The cost of living is soaring, but wages are not keeping up. This means real wages – the value of goods and services your income can buy – are going backwards.

Average real wages for all working people in NSW will fall 2% this coming financial year. However, for public sector workers this is even higher.

The budget locks in a ‘public sector pay cap’ which legally prevents wages from going above 3% next year while forecasting 5.5% inflation. This means the average public sector worker, across hospitals, schools, emergency services and more, will experience a real wage cut of $2142.

What’s worse is this wage cap affects every worker. It suppresses wages across the entire economy by sending the message that the NSW Government – Australia’s largest employer – thinks it’s acceptable for real wages to go backwards.

Secure Jobs


– The NSW Government continues to ignore job security. Nearly 30% of workers in our schools, our hospitals and across our public services are casual or on short term contracts.

– The NSW Governments’ plans to grow the workforce falls well short of what is needed to address shortages, overwork and understaffing in schools, hospitals and other essential services.

– There is no long term plan for skills, training or pay to retain and attract the workers NSW needs.

More than one in four workers in Australia are now in insecure work. This is even higher in essential services.

Nearly 30% of essential workers employed by the NSW Government are not provided ongoing work. It is illogical, ideologically motivated and short sighted that there are no measures in the NSW Budget to address this. The workers of NSW deserve certainty and the opportunity to develop their careers.

NSW must expand the essential workforce to maintain and grow the essential services you need. This is a major challenge for NSW with job vacancies rising between 42%-106% across teaching, nursing, emergency services and transport last year. In NSW public schools alone, a minimum of 11,000 teachers are needed over the next decade just to keep up with growing student numbers.

The NSW Budget provides some funding to increase health and childcare staff but this falls short of what is needed and there are no plans for other essential services.

There is also no long-term plan for skills, training or lifting wages to make key professions more attractive. Without this, the NSW Government’s promise to increase staff is a hollow announcement.

Public Services: Schools, Hospitals and more


– Lack of investment in the people who deliver essential services will put the quality of services at risk

– The Budget did not include promised funding for a number of new initiatives, with early education and childcare reserved less than a quarter of what was promised.

NSW will not maintain high quality public services in our schools, hospitals, emergency services, transport, social services and more without investing in the essential workers who deliver them.

Falling real wages, staff shortages, overwork and a chronic lack of investment in skills and training has put our essential services at risk.

The NSW Budget contains few measures to address this. Indeed, on wages it locks in a real pay cut by capping wages well below inflation.

The NSW Government made plenty of pre-budget announcements in the media. However, a number of these promises remain unfunded.

The budget contains a fraction of the funding promised for an early education and childcare expansion. Of the $10.7 billion cost, 24% was allocated or reserved in the budget and the rest is nearly a decade away. It remains unclear whether these promises will ever be delivered in full.

There are also no measures to slow down outsourcing or privatisation of public services.


Small announcements or unfunded big promises can’t make up for the lack of investment in wages, cost of living and essential workers.

With staff shortages and falling real wages, the future of essential public services – schools, hospitals, emergency services, transport, social services and more – is at risk.

If you think the NSW Government needs to take action, sign the petition below calling on them to invest in the essential workers who deliver public services.