Taxpayers hit with $10b for public service wage boost
The State Government will save more than $477 million from its contentious public service wage increase deferral during the current financial year.
But wages will still balloon by 9 per cent over the forward estimates, totalling $28.96 billion by 2023-24.
This is an increase of $2.49 billion over the next four financial years.
During 2020-21, $477.9 million will be saved because of the wage increase deferral, with this reducing to $305.9 million during 2021-22.
Budget papers have also revealed taxpayers have footed an almost $10 billion increase in wages for public servants over the last decade.
It comes as the Sunshine State's unemployment rate of 7.7 per cent will marginally improve during 2021-22, hitting 7 per cent.
But it's expected to sit stagnant for the following two financial years at 6.5 per cent.
Treasurer Cameron Dick said Queensland was on par with other states and territories for public service growth over the forward estimates.
"We absolutely, resolutely support funding the frontline," he said.
"We made that very clear in the election.
"We're not going to cut the frontline and our public servants have done a wonderful job during COVID."
The Treasurer said the two biggest drivers behind the growth were health and education.
"The rest of the public service is growing at population," he said.
Labor announced during the election that it would hire an additional 5,800 nurses, 1,500 doctors and 1,700 allied health professionals through to September 2024.
Meanwhile, budget papers have revealed the pandemic had resulted in some of Queensland's fiscal principles not being met, with "appropriate revisions" to be considered ahead of next year's budget.
Mr Dick said the Government was going to "look" at the principles going forward, when pressed on whether this meant they would be rewritten.
"We're just going to have a look at them to see if they're relevant to the post-COVID world and whether they're continuing to deliver for Queensland," he said.
One the principles sets out that the Government should "maintain a sustainable" public service by ensuring overall growth in full-time equivalent staff did not exceed population growth.
"A more subdued rate of population growth in the near term has been brought on by the spread of COVID-19 constraining international and interstate migration to Queensland," the budget papers say.
"Consequently, the average growth in public sector FTEs will exceed population growth.
'"Growth in the health sector continues to be the largest driver of FTE growth."
The public service has grown by 6168 full-time positions during the last financial year.
Originally published as Taxpayers hit with $10b for public service wage boost