Public servants to be given huge bonus
OVER 200,000 Queensland public servants are set to be given a $1,250 bonus under a staggering quarter of a billion dollar cash splash from the Palaszczuk Government.
Treasurer Jackie Trad announced the extraordinary one-off bonuses in a lunch time media release yesterday - insisting the move was about driving economic growth.
It came as the Government committed to maintaining future public service pay increases of up to 2.5 per cent at a time when Brisbane's most recent inflation rate was recorded at 1.7 per cent.
The bonuses have prompted Opposition claims that the Government is trying to buy votes, with the LNP calling for the payments to be tied to guaranteeing better services.
The payments will apply to almost all public servants, including nurses, teachers and desk workers, who sign up to new agreements finalised between March, 2018 and March, 2021.
But senior executives and senior officers will be exempt.
Ms Trad defended the $1,250 payments, which are expected to set taxpayers back about $250 million and be paid out to about 200,000 workers, saying they would provide additional economic support while "maintaining the budget balance".
"The Governor of the Reserve Bank of Australia last month called for all levels of government to provide additional support above existing caps on wages growth to drive economic growth," she said.
LNP deputy leader and treasury spokesman Tim Mander said the bonuses were a "desperate taxpayer funded cash splash for votes".
"Jackie Trad has already blown the budget by $1.4 billion last year so this taxpayer funded cash splash should be tied to guaranteeing better services as Labor have created a major health crisis with waiting lists blowing out and education results slipping," he said.
Industrial Relations Minister Grace Grace later told reporters that she believed Queenslanders would find that the payments are an "appropriate spend".
"We believe that's good for the economy, we believe it's good for our balanced budget and we believe it's good for workers," she said.
"This is fiscally responsible."
The Minister said some of the payments would be made ahead of Christmas, putting more cash in the pockets of public sector workers during a busy time of the year.
She also said new agreements would include productivity improvement clauses.
The Government yesterday confirmed more than a dozen agreements were still being negotiated, while four have been referred to the Queensland Industrial Relations Commission for arbitration.
Queensland Council of Unions Acting general secretary Michael Clifford said they welcomed the public sector bonuses.
"It should also put pressure on the private sector to lift wage increases," he said.