Lollipop lady pay in Australia: Traffic controller speaks out about weekly earnings

The diaries of a lollipop lady: Young woman reveals exactly how much she earns as a traffic controller

  • Young Sydney woman posts TikTok detailing her wages from traffic control work
  • Nyah Covey earned $2,300 for a week’s casual traffic control in Queensland 
  • But she admitted being heavily taxed and to working five 12 hour days  

A young Australian woman has boasted about the eye-watering amount she makes as a very casual traffic controller, but there’s a big catch.

Nyah Covey posted a video to TikTok breaking down her earnings over five days in traffic control in Queensland, which totalled $2,300, though that was for 60 hours work, rather than a 40-hour working week that most Aussies do.

But the amount was before tax income earned for casual shifts, meaning she’s unlikely to get consistent hours every week.

The Sydney girl moved to the Sunshine Coast in November 2021 and does casual traffic control work in the area, making up to $2,300 a week before tax

The Sydney girl moved to the Sunshine Coast in November 2021 and does casual traffic control work in the area, making up to $2,300 a week before tax

Nyah Covey posted a video to TikTok breaking down her earnings over five days in traffic control in Queensland, which totalled $2,300 - though that was for 60 hours work

Nyah Covey posted a video to TikTok breaking down her earnings over five days in traffic control in Queensland, which totalled $2,300 – though that was for 60 hours work

Her best take for the week was getting $700 for working 12 hours on a Sunday.

If she managed to keep up the same hours all year, she’d easily clear $100,000 before tax, and have plenty of time for holidays.

But once the taxman takes his chunk her daily earnings drop significantly. 

Aussies who earn more than $90,000 a year need to pay $20,797 in taxes plus 37c for every dollar above $90,000.

‘Tax is a b***h,’ she said. 

But Ms Covey disputed the rumour her job was easy.

‘A lot of people think traffic controller is easy but there are a lot of hard and stressful days especially if we’re out working on a highway,’ she said. 

Her clip showed her day by day earnings and in one frame showed her sitting watching a mount of soil

If she managed to keep up 60 hour weeks all year she'd easily clear $100,000 before tax - but she admitted 'tax is a b***h'

Ms Covey gave a glimpse of life on the job as a traffic controller, which is evidently not always action-packed. In one frame she is apparently sitting watching a huge mound of soil

Ms Covey disputed traffic control only involves holding a sign for 12 hours, saying some days are 'hectic'

Ms Covey disputed traffic control only involves holding a sign for 12 hours, saying some days are ‘hectic’

‘We actually do a lot, some days are very chilled but we do have our days where is hectic depending on the job, it’s not always easy.’ 

She also revealed her actual pay rate is $31 an hour, but added that she also gets a  travel and food allowance, plus penalty rates (double time and a half) for working overtime and on weekends. 

Are traffic controllers well paid?

It’s complicated, but usually not as well as you’d think.

The award rate nationally for a traffic controller is $29.79 per hour – but it can be as much as $120 an hour.

The pay rate is better for traffic controllers on union jobs, but that work is harder to find and in short supply.  

Traffic controllers with the CFMEU union in Victoria can earn up to $55.08 per hour. 

The rate climbs to $99.15 per hour if working overtime. 

On public holidays, they make up to $121.18 per hour.

Full-time traffic controller roles in Victoria are typically advertised to earn between $50,000 and $70,000 a year. 

According Seek.com.au, the median annual salary in NSW for a traffic controller is $76,249.  

Across Australia, the most common salary advertised for traffic controllers is between $40,000 and $60,000.

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