Canberra's garbage truck drivers sent social media into meltdown this week when it was revealed their average wage could jump to $120,000 a year if they are successful in their bid for a pay rise.
Some in the capital were shocked at the salary demand. The drivers have already gone on strike three times, leaving bins uncollected around the city after citing a toxic culture as the reason for the animosity with management.
But how does a garbage truck driver's wage compare to that of other jobs in Canberra?
The median wage in the ACT was $64,740, according to the most recent Bureau of Statistics data. Those figures from 2017 compared very favourably to the rest of the nation, which had a median wage of $48,360.
The average ACT wage in 2017 was $71,324, although averages can too easily be influenced by outliers. In either case, our garbos take home more than a lot of their fellow citizens.
Despite the presence of many burgeoning, diverse industries, Canberra remains largely a public service town.
Steady public sector jobs, with their substantial salaries, are a large part of why the ACT traditionally tops the nation for wages.
The median remuneration package for Commonwealth public servants (APS 1 to SES 3) was $100,556 in 2019, according to data from the Australian Public Service Commission.
These figures include a public servant's total remuneration, including superannuation and benefits.
The overall median was somewhat skewed by the large pay packets in the SES band, in which the median packages ranged from $254,739 to $436,338.
An APS 4 could expect to take home $84,787 and an APS 6 earned $108,602.
Once a public servant hit the executive level their median total remuneration ranged from $135,000 to $170,000.
The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the vital importance of our front-line healthcare workers, and foremost among those are our nurses.
The ACT government's nursing and midwifery employment agreement dictates the pay scales for nurses, which vary considerably.
As of December 2019, enrolled nurses in their first year earned $61,658, and after five years of service that increases to about $66,000 per year.
Once a nurse becomes registered they have the capacity to grow their salaries considerably from a starting point of $67,984 per year to $90,814 in the first band.
Registered nurses in the highest pay grades can earn more than $150,000.
Australians gained a greater appreciation for teachers thanks to the pandemic, when many parents were forced to play teacher while kids were at home learning.
Like nurses, Canberra teachers also earn highly variable salaries based on their experience.
As of July, according to their employment agreement, graduate ACT public school teachers took home $69,358 in their first year, and that amount grew to $81,046 in their fourth year.
Experienced teachers in the public system can earn between $84,945 and $109,641 each year.
School principals earn between $168,315 and $194,304.
Our emergency services personnel are invaluable to the Canberra community and often put themselves in danger during their work.
From December last year, first-year firefighters were paid $74,137, the highest-ranked superintendents earned $150,428 and the rest fell in between.
Paramedics earn between $76,598 and $86,170 as of June. However, once penalties and overtime are included, paramedics can earn more than $100,000 annually.
ACTION bus drivers, another group of workers that have had to take industrial action in the past, earn $78,412.
The difference between the above employees and garbage truck drivers is that they are directly employed by government, whereas garbage truck drivers are paid by Suez.
One thing they share is that they all provide an essential service. Any Canberran with rubbish steadily building up at home would not argue with the statement that garbage truck drivers are essential.
What they are worth is something they'll have to determine with Suez, and hopefully soon.