Government pushes on with pay freeze

THE government has confirmed it will look to legislate a one-year wage freeze for the state service's 30,000 workers.

Premier Will Hodgman and Treasurer Peter Gutwein said the government would also push on with plans to cap wage increases for public servants after the one-year pay pause was lifted.

Mr Hodgman said the move would save 500 jobs and $50 million dollars a year.

He said the decision was made necessary by a $1.1 billion budget ``black hole'', 1000 job cuts embedded in the state budget and rising debt and interest payments.

``What we are proposing is a tough decision made in tough circumstances,'' Mr Hodgman said.

``But it's necessary for the state to be put on stronger foundations for the future, and that's what we're about doing.''

If legislation underpinning the pay pause passes the lower and upper houses of state parliament, the 12 month measure could take effect in October.

Mr Gutwein said he hoped unions would ``get on board'' with the government's plan.

But CPSU acting secretary Mat Johnston labelled the move a ``cowardly and despicable'' act.

Opposition Leader Bryan Green said the legislation would strip employees of their bargaining power.

``This is legislation riding rough-shot over employees,'' Mr Green said.

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