Labor's Shadow Minister for the Hunter Clayton Barr asks why National's MP supported wage freeze

After successfully blocking cuts to the wages of nurses, cleaners, police, firefighters and other public sector workers across the Hunter region, NSW Labor has demanded an explanation from Upper Hunter MP Michael Johnson, who voted for the cut.

Labor's Shadow Minister for the Hunter Clayton Barr asks why National's MP supported wage freeze

Labor's Shadow Minister for the Hunter Clayton Barr asks why National's MP supported wage freeze

Shadow Minister for the Hunter,and Member for Cessnock Clayton Barr, said: "Michael Johnson must explain why they voted in Parliament to give a pay cut to thousands of workers in their communities. "Why did they vote to take money out of workers' pockets?"

"Why did they vote to make it harder for the people they represent to put food on the family table?

"By freezing wages for just one year, every single public sector worker will be, on average, $25,000 worse off in 10 years' time.

"That's' what Michael Johnsen need to explain to his public sector workers."

A report this week criticised the Government's wage cut policy, saying that for every $1 million invested in public worker wages two additional private sector jobs are created. While that same amount invested in construction would only create one additional job.

"It makes sense to invest in our public workers, because those workers spend their wages in local businesses. It's proven to support jobs in retail, hospitality, and even at the hairdresser," Mr Barr said.

The report's author said cutting workers' wages to fund infrastructure might actually accelerate job losses in retail, hospitality and tourism.

Mr Barr said despite Labor successfully stopping the wage cut in Parliament, the fight is far from over. Gladys Berejiklian will attempt to secure these wage cuts through the industrial umpire.

"Labor will fight the Berejiklian Government every step of the way. Our nurses, cleaners, police and firefighters are heroes. They deserve a medal, not a pay cut," he said.

"The Berejiklian Government's worker wage cut will rip $1 billion a year from the State's economy and affect more than 400,000 people in NSW, including 3,462 workers in the Upper Hunter."

In other state political news the Legislative Council last night voted to pass the coal seam gas moratorium Bill.

The Bill, introduced by independent MLC Justin Field, passed the Upper House with the support of Labor, the Greens, the Shooters, Fishers and Farmers Party and the Animal Justice Party.

Lock the Gate NSW spokesperson Georgina Woods welcomed the passing of the Bill, and urged the Liberal and Nationals MPs to support the moratorium when it is debated in the Lower House.

"Last night's debate made it clear that Bill is necessary in part because the Berejiklian Government has spectacularly failed to deliver its promise to implement the Chief Scientist's recommendations for managing the risks of coal seam gas," she said.

"Government members will now have to think carefully about where they stand. We urge them to hold faith with the NSW Chief Scientist's recommendations and the farming communities fighting to protect groundwater from coal seam gas.

"If they had done that work, we do not believe Santos' polluting Narrabri gasfield would still be threatening the Great Artesian Basin water recharge zone.

"As the parliament found earlier this year, the majority of the Chief Scientist's recommendations on CSG are still not in place, so this polluting, toxic industry absolutely should not be allowed to continue in NSW.

"We're enormously grateful to Justin Field for preparing this Bill, and working in the Upper House to secure its broad support and passage. The Labor Party, Shooters Fishers and Farmers, Greens and Animal Justice have kept faith with the community and the science and that has given us a great deal of hope.

"Farmers have spent more than a decade fighting this project, while also contending with the spirit crushing drought. It's time for the NSW Government to support this Bill and keep its promises on coal seam gas."