• Published June 15, 2022

The calls are getting louder — we need to Scrap The Cap, and get rid of this unfair ceiling on the wages of the NSW Health workforce once and for all.

This harmful policy turns people away from working in the public health system, at a time when we need them more than ever. It was introduced when the O’Farrell Government passed legislation in 2011 that capped public sector wage increases at 2.5% per annum. This overturned the Industrial Relations Commission’s 80 years of independence, and meant that part of the mismanagement of the NSW Health workforce was protected in law.

The shameful Wages Cap policy has frozen public health wages at a time when workloads and expectations are growing. Given inflation rates and the associated rise in the cost of living pressures from groceries to children’s education fees, this means that health workers’ pay has effectively gone backwards.

As a result, they are leaving the public health sector in droves.

Hospitals across the state, from Royal Prince Alfred in the city to Manning Base Hospital to the north to Shellharbour Hospital in the south, to Broken Hill Hospital in the far west, hosted visits from MPs from all sides of politics.

Whether they were Labor, Liberal, National or an Independent, they heard the same stories, directly from those who make up the frontline of the NSW Health system.

Because of HSU members demanding action, NSW Labor has committed to establishing a Special Commission of Inquiry into NSW Health funding.

Meeting with members at Blacktown Hospital, Labor Leader Chris Minns and Health Minister Ryan Park for Keira announced that a Labor Government will investigate where the $33 billion in health spending is going.

The new government’s announcement is proof that when HSU members raise their voices together, we get things done. We won’t give up until our hospitals and health facilities are properly staffed, and health workers can once again bargain for a proper wage increase. Let’s stay united and keep the pressure on.

It’s time to #ScrapTheCap and recognise the vital role our health workers play in keeping the NSW community healthy.