9 Remuneration

Around 170 instruments determine remuneration for the NSW Public Service, and a further 100 apply to the rest of the NSW public sector. Remuneration data is reported as the total annual base salary (FTE) and excludes other payments, such as allowances, penalty rates and superannuation. Many employees in the NSW public sector are paid within a salary band or range that includes an annual increment subject to meeting certain performance standards.

Median remuneration

  • All employees


    +2.5% vs. 2017

  • Male


    +3.3% vs. 2017

  • Female


    +2.5% vs. 2017

Median remuneration for non-casual employees in the NSW public sector was $85,782 in 2018, an increase of 2.5% from 2017. While this increase was in line with NSW Government wages policy (capping annual increases at 2.5%) 1, it outpaced the increase in Sydney’s Consumer Price Index (CPI) (2.1%)2. However, growth in NSW public sector median remuneration did not exceed the growth in full-time adult average weekly ordinary time earnings across Australia (2.6%)3, the first time this has occurred since 20134. Figure 9.1 shows how the median salary in the public sector increased steadily over the past decade in accordance with wages policy remaining at 2.5% since 2011.


Within the government sector, the service with the highest median remuneration in 2018 was the Teaching Service (see Table 9.1). In 2018, 40.6% of non-casual school teachers (28,851 headcount) were paid at the top of their salary band structure5 ($100,299), corresponding to the high median tenure of these employees (19.3 years).

In contrast, other Crown services had the lowest median remuneration (see Table 9.1), consistent with previous years. School Support Staff constituted 49.1% of this cohort, with a median salary of $50,303. Approximately half of these employees were Teachers’ Aides, while the other half were General Clerks.

The large increase (5.8%) in median remuneration for the Public Service from 2017 to 2018 was due partly to the transfer of disability services to private providers under the NDIS, as a high proportion of these employees were on lower than median salaries.

Within the Transport Service, a 4.3% increase in median remuneration was partly due to a net increase in the number of employees in higher remunerated roles and a net decrease in the number of employees in lower grades.

Table 9.1 Median remuneration by service, (non-casual) employees at census date, 2017–18

Service 2017 2018 Percentage change
Public Service $83,941 $88,851 5.8
NSW Health Service $82,573 $85,466 3.5
NSW Police Force $87,591 $90,103 2.9
Teaching Service $97,853 $100,299 2.5
Transport Service $75,771 $79,007 4.3
Other Crown services $57,286 $58,516 2.1
Total government sector $83,689 $85,782 2.5
State owned corporations $93,627 $96,151 2.7
External to government sector $124,022 $122,437 -1.3
Total public sector $83,689 $85,782 2.5


1 NSW Public Sector Wages Policy 2011
2 Australian Bureau of Statistics, 2018, Consumer Price Index, Australia, cat. no. 6401.0, Jun 2018, viewed 3 October 2018, http://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.nsf/Latestproducts/6401.0Main%20Features3Jun%202018?opendocument&tabname=Summary&prodno=6401.0&issue=Jun%202018&num=&view
3 Australian Bureau of Statistics, 2018, Average Weekly Earnings, Australia, cat. no. 6302.0, May 2018, viewed 3 October 2018, http://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.nsf/Latestproducts/6302.0Main%20Features1May%202018?opendocument&tabname=Summary&prodno=6302.0&issue=May%202018&num=&view
4 Australian Bureau of Statistics, 2018, Average Weekly Earnings, Australia, cat. no. 6302.0, May 2018, Table 11A ‘Average Weekly Earnings, New South Wales (Dollars) – Trend’, viewed 3 October 2018, http://www.abs.gov.au/AUSSTATS/abs@.nsf/DetailsPage/6302.0May%202018?OpenDocument
5 Crown Employees (Teachers in Schools and Related Employees) Salaries and Conditions Award 2017, NSW Industrial Relations Commission, http://www.lawlink.nsw.gov.au/irc/ircgazette.nsf/ (PublicationsByTitle)/FBA6661A7F84272BCA2581160011216A?OpenDocument