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Call to raise ACT politicians' pay by $25,000 a year

The former chairman of the Commonwealth Grants Commission has backed a substantial pay rise for ACT politicians, suggesting pay rates should be in line with wages in the wider Canberra community.

Base pay for Members of the Assembly is $125,260, plus they get loadings for extra jobs like chairing committees; ministers get a 70 per cent loading.

The ACT Remuneration Tribunal is looking at boosting pay by about $15,000 a year, perhaps linking it to executive pay in the ACT public service. Executive level 1 jobs pay $136,700 to $164,800 (a different scale to the federal executive level pay). Another option is to set pay at an average for other states and territories, with Canberra politicians currently paid less than MPs in every jurisdiction except Tasmania.

Alan Henderson, who was head of the grants commission until June last year, has made a submission to the pay review as a private individual. He said that if they were to not deter experienced and successful people, pay rates across the city should come into the equation.

An analysis by the grants commission in 2013 showed that underlying wages in Canberra pay were about above 5 per cent above average, bettered only by Western Australia and the Northern Territory.

“Once the above average level of ACT wages is taken into account, it appears that the base level of remuneration for MLAs in the ACT may be the least attractive of any jurisdiction, even less attractive than in Tasmania,” Mr Henderson wrote.

Of the options put forward by the tribunal, a link with executive public servants’ pay was preferable, he said. Choosing the average level 1 pay of $150,700 would mean a hike of $25,500 a year in members’ pay.

“That  may  appear  like  a  very  large  increase,  not  least  in  a  period  of  public  sector  austerity,” Mr Henderson commented. “If, however, it is accepted that attracting good quality candidates is an important consideration, a significant increase may be warranted.”

30 comments

  • In a period of fiscal austerity and public sector restraint the timing for this wage increase proposal is beyond appalling.

    Cannot, should not, consider this at a time of job losses and redundancies.

    Commenter
    Totally Outraged
    Date and time
    February 26, 2014, 3:39PM
    • City Councillors are part time and paid accordingly, yet seem to do a better job than our pathetic 'town council'. We are already overrepresented compared to a city council, even after taking the State level portfolios into account.
      No way do they deserve more money, and no way should we have more snouts in the trough. These are tough times for everyone, they should get with the program.

      Commenter
      Mardi
      Location
      Tuggeranong
      Date and time
      February 26, 2014, 4:49PM
    • I agree completely. Such arrogance from politicians. Increase my salary but not yours yet we are the tax payers that pay you, the politicians' salary.

      Commenter
      Jao
      Location
      ACT
      Date and time
      February 26, 2014, 7:52PM
  • Canberra is the equivalent of a large regional centre and should be called a City Council not Members of Parliament. And they should not be paid more than Tasmanian MP's if for no other reason that Tassie is a much larger area to manage than the compact area of the ACT. These people are so full of their own self importance and deal with things way outside what they should be, like wanting to set social precedents. Representing 300k people shouldn't give them that right. Get back to basics and things that are important to the everyday lives of people in ACT and their salaries are appropriate for that.

    Commenter
    Not worth it
    Date and time
    February 26, 2014, 3:40PM
    • Agreed. They are a council, and in time where their constituents are being made redundant, facing even more job losses (and the flow on effects) this is nothing short of insulting.
      What saving are being used to fund their pay rises? Everyone else in the public sector has to give up something in terms of entitlements in order to fund the smallest pay rise. No one should be asking for a pay rise in this climate, certainly not the council members.
      Not concerned who recommended the pay rise (they always get someone else to recommend it),

      I would think that if they had any sense of respect for their constituents there should be a press release by now from them stating they wont be seeking a pay rise.

      Commenter
      Steve U
      Date and time
      February 27, 2014, 6:41AM
  • You are joking?

    Commenter
    LOL
    Location
    Durham Lead
    Date and time
    February 26, 2014, 3:41PM
    • They should be payed less than their counterparts! Their counterparts are running much bigger areas. Besides, all we have here is a glorified council anyway!

      Commenter
      M
      Location
      Canberra
      Date and time
      February 26, 2014, 3:44PM
      • I knew this was coming, as soon as I read public servcants wages were to be frozen for the next 3 years.

        Commenter
        Me
        Date and time
        February 26, 2014, 3:49PM
        • So that's why Joy Burch is hanging around Gallagher.

          Commenter
          Sharron
          Location
          Canberra
          Date and time
          February 26, 2014, 3:52PM
          • I like the comments the ministers have not asked for the increase but as sure as god made little fishes they damn well expect it.
            $126K + 70% loading now and they want, sorry they expect more.
            Example: Joy Burch, talk about receiving money under false pretences, Ms Burch, I have to work 4 years at 55 hours per week to earn what you do in a year and I know damn fine well I work a lot bloody harder than you do, my problem, yes, but at least my hand doesn't shake when I get paid.
            And can I assume the salaries of the Libs will increase as well, a bunch of ladies and gents that do nothing, accomplish nothing sitting back parasiting the public purse, harsh, hell yeah but damn true, pity a few more, a lot more ACT citizens didn't get of their backsides and bark, we voted this lame lot in, why the hell do we need to wait for an election to vote them out and start from scratch again without the stupid preference crap.
            Problem, the majority of ACT citizens have got so apathetic through 3 elections of lies and crap guarantees leaving this mob to believe they where put in power to save the world instead of mow the lawns and and repair the roads, oh and collect the ever increasing rates.

            Commenter
            NITRO GANGSTER
            Date and time
            February 26, 2014, 3:59PM

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