Despite promising that MPs wouldn’t receive a pay increase when the NSW Liberal-National Government froze wages of public sector workers last year, the Premier has granted a pay rise to at least one Minister of $16,920. Questioning by Abigail Boyd MP during budget estimates has revealed a lack of transparency and accountability for the process of handing out these pay rises.
Greens NSW Treasury & Finance Spokesperson Abigail Boyd says:
“The Premier can give any Minister a $17k pay rise by designating them ‘senior’. There are no limits on how many are ‘senior’, no criteria and, as far as we can tell, no specific extra responsibilities.
“At least one, Minister Tudehope, has been given this pay rise while the wages of public sector workers, like our nurses and teachers, remain frozen. When asked about it, he claimed it as a ‘promotion’ for becoming ‘Leader of the House’, a position that previously carried no additional salary.
“Last year when the NSW Liberal-National Government froze public sector wages, the Premier said ‘we’re all in this together’ and committed to not giving MPs a pay rise while frontline workers missed out, yet here she is handing out what amounts to 5.5% pay rise to members of her party.
“The Premier has also appointed more Parliamentary Secretaries than ever before. These are MPs who get almost $34k extra for what appears to be simply attending events on behalf of Ministers. Again, there are apparently no limits on how many of these can be appointed at the Premier’s discretion.
“The response to my questions about this during budget estimates revealed just how out of touch with reality these Liberal-National MPs are. At least two of them tried to argue they didn’t notice whether or not they were paid an additional $17,000 because they were too ‘focused’ on their jobs. That is cold comfort for those in NSW who are doing it tough and counting every cent.
“We could be forgiven for thinking that these secret ‘promotions’ are given out by the Premier to quell internal disputes or to reward factional allies. If the Premier doesn’t want these question marks over her actions, she should immediately act to put in place publicly-accountable selection criteria and to explain why almost every member of her Government receives a salary over and above the base salary for MPs.”