Strong negotiation by the Community and Public Sector Union (CPSU) has secured a guarantee of backpay for thousands of Commonwealth public sector workers in non-APS agencies.

The win means that as non-APS Commonwealth employees move to a common annual pay rise date of 14 March 2024, those workers who are due a pay rise before then will not be disadvantaged.

It also means that staff campaigning for new agreements will no longer run the risk of being out of pocket if their current agreement ends before a new one is in place.

The right to backpay across the public sector has long been a key aim of the union and was one of a range of public sector bargaining improvements the CPSU secured in discussions with the incoming Labor Government.

Under the previous LNP government, backpay was forbidden which enabled agencies to drag their feet in negotiations and ‘starve’ staff into accepting substandard ‘take-it-or-leave-it’ agreements.


Non-APS staff are individuals who work in Commonwealth agencies that are not subject to the Public Service Act, such as CSIRO, AirServices Australia, the Australian Securities and Investment Commission, and the Civil Aviation Safety Authority.

To be eligible for backpay, employees need to vote on an enterprise agreement before 14 March 2024, and that vote needs to be successful.

Quotes attributable to Melissa Donnelly, CPSU National Secretary:

“The CPSU was determined to ensure that the overdue administrative task of aligning pay rise dates did not leave any employee financially worse off in the process.

“This is good news for workers in these agencies and an important win that was fought for and secured by the CPSU.

“It will put pressure on negotiators on both sides to get agreements finalised in a timely manner.

Media contact: Tori McGregor 0429 000 620