Police recruitment breakthrough – trainees will be paid to become officers

Chris Minns

Premier of New South Wales


Yasmin Catley

Minister for Police and Counter-terrorism


Police recruitment breakthrough – trainees will be paid to become officers


The NSW Government is continuing to rebuild our frontline services today announcing an historic breakthrough agreement to address the ongoing critical shortfall in police numbers by paying Student Police Officers while they study at the Goulburn Police Academy.

This is an important workforce incentive to encourage more people to take up a career in the NSW Police Force.

From March 2024, Student Police Officers will be paid to study at the Goulburn Police Academy. Student Police Officers will be employed as clerk grade 1/2 administrative employees on a temporary fixed term contact.

They’ll receive a total salary of approximately $30,984 over the 16-week study period.

That works out to be $1,360 per week plus superannuation and an estimated $380 in award-based allowances.

At the end of their studies, they will be employed and paid as Probationary Constables, as is the current arrangement.

This initiative also brings NSW in line with other states and territories who already offer students extra allowances.

To ensure the current classes are not worse off, they will receive a scholarship administered by their education provider - Charles Stuart University.

  • Class 360 will receive a pro-rata scholarship from the date of today’s announcement.
  • Class 361 will receive a $21,760 scholarship.

NSW Police is being severely strained by a huge shortfall in police numbers.

We are currently carrying more than 1,500 vacancies – a legacy of the previous government’s mismanagement of police recruitment and retention.

These vacancies are placing significant strain and an increased workload on serving officers. It is critical that something is done to address this.

The scheme, combined with NSW Police’s Associate Degree level qualification that police recruits earn at Goulburn Academy will make NSW the most attractive jurisdiction in Australia to train as a police officer.

This will unlock opportunities for a more diverse range of recruits including mature age students who have existing financial responsibilities, women, particularly women with families, and people from low-income households who simply can’t afford to study for four months with no income.

Our plan to rebuild essential services is only possible because of the careful and responsible approach to repair the budget without privatising our essential assets or imposing an unfair wages cap on our workforce.

We are a government with a clear focus – managing our finances responsibly so we can provide support when you need it most and improve the essential services that we all rely on, now and into the future.

Premier of NSW Chris Minns said:

“We owe a great debt of gratitude to NSW Police and this announcement makes it clear that the NSW Labor Government backs our police officers 100 per cent.

“I’m committed to improving working conditions, stopping our frontline workers quitting and attracting more people to these vital roles – that’s why we are introducing this new incentive for future police officers.”

“Police do an incredible job to keep us safe, but the truth is they are stretched and overworked, and we can’t fix that if we don’t recruit and retain more officers. 

“We want to attract a diverse new cohort of NSW Police Officers, my message to anyone who has considered joining the NSW Police is that now is the time to apply.”

Minister for Police and Counter-terrorism Yasmin Catley said:

"This is a historic day. NSWPF recruitment has been in the doldrums for years.

"I'm incredibly proud to be part of the team, along with Commissioner Webb, that has delivered this landmark reform for our trainee police.

"I want to thank the Police Association of NSW which has advocated tirelessly for this reform and been a huge support to me and the Government in seeing it delivered."

“This will be an enduring legacy of my time as Minister and Karen's as Commissioner. We're both very proud of it."

“I’ve heard many stories of people wanting to change careers and join the NSW Police Force but who simply cannot afford to train for four months without income. I’m thrilled that’s about to change.”

NSW Police Commissioner Karen Webb said:

“This announcement is a game changer for our organisation. Post covid, recruitment in policing has suffered in Australia and across the world. Breaking down the barriers for people to leave one job and start with us without being financially disadvantaged is the most attractive incentive we’ve been able to offer for many years.”

“I can’t think of a more exciting announcement for the NSW Police Force and it comes at a time when I know all our current hard working, dedicated officers will be very relieved. The calvary is coming!”