JavaScript disabled. Please enable JavaScript to use My News, My Clippings, My Comments and user settings.

If you have trouble accessing our login form below, you can go to our login page.

If you have trouble accessing our login form below, you can go to our login page.

Health bosses share in $5.7m bonus

Top executives at the federal Department of Health and Ageing shared a $5.7 million performance bonus in the 12 months to June last year.

Staff at the department were told last week that it planned to cut 400 jobs as it struggled to rein in its spending in response to the latest increase in the Labor government's efficiency dividend.

But an analysis of recent departmental annual reports shows that the number of senior staff on salaries of more than $240,000 grew from 39 in 2011 to 53 last year.

The department's highest-paid worker got a pay rise of nearly $120,000 in the same period, taking their salary to $476,000 as at June last year.

The figures for the past 12 months are not yet available but a department official said on Friday the numbers were likely to be similar to 2011-12.

Department secretary Jane Halton, told 5200 workers the department needed to reform its structure to have fewer bosses and more rank-and-file workers.

The 2011-12 annual report shows 622 workers, mostly senior staff on individual agreements, were paid a total of $4,024,903 in ''performance-based bonuses'', payments above their normal salary and extras.

The department's 156 ''senior executive staff'' were paid $1,714,994 in bonuses in 2011-2012.

The annual reports also reveal that, in 2011, six of the department's employees were paid more than $240,000, a figure that had grown to 48 a year later.

Ms Halton, the highest paid person in the department, saw her salary grow from $355,857 in 2011 to $476,149 last year.

A spokeswoman for the department said the latest figures were being prepared and that a concerted effort was being made to cut back on the department's more highly paid staff. Health has more than 2000 executives at levels one and two and more than 150 senior executives.

''The details for the department's 2012-13 annual report are being finalised,'' the spokeswoman said.

''Whilst bonuses paid are likely to remain similar to previous financial years, we expect to see a reduction in the number of higher salaried employees.

''The department is taking the following actions to improve our APS (junior to mid-ranking) to EL (executive-level) ratio.

''As positions need filling, roles are carefully assessed against work-level standards to ensure they are at the appropriate level.''

She said ''business processes'' would also be reviewed to make sure salaries were justified by duties and executive-level jobs would be reassessed to make sure all executives in non-specialist jobs were actually managing people.

The spokeswoman said the department had not followed the lead of other federal departments and rolled executive bonuses into wages.

''This department has not rolled performance pay into base salaries where many other APS agencies have,'' she said.

''Executive-level employees have appeals rights for performance bonuses under section 33 of the Public Service Act.''

32 comments

  • WTF!! What on earth do these people do to justify their salary. As far as I can tell, they're all paper pushers and nothing more. The future government would be entirely justified in culling these bureaucrats!!

    Commenter
    Cynical
    Location
    Canberra
    Date and time
    August 20, 2013, 9:15AM
    • For Christ sake! I suspect none of the ‘performance’ involved sacking any of the 156 SES officers and saving taxpayers some money. This from a department that employs no doctors of nurses!

      Bring on Abbott’s massive cuts.

      Commenter
      Economist
      Date and time
      August 20, 2013, 9:16AM
      • I wish I could say I am surprised by this, but sadly I am not. The hypocrisy of senior public servants never ceases to surprise but it does constantly disappoint. This at a time when the APS Commissioner is trying to sell the public sector as ethical; I doubt his senior colleagues can even spell the word.

        Commenter
        Irene
        Date and time
        August 20, 2013, 9:25AM
        • I have heard the furphy about needing to pay public servants in line with what they could earn in private enterprise. Well let it be said that any private enterprise CEO and their most senior management who employed 2000 bosses in a workforce of 5000 would be unemployable, and so it should be in DoHA. To then reward them with an extra $5.7 m is an affront to the taxpayer.
          If they were delivering a superior health system for less they would be deserving, but they are delivering an inferior health system that squanders a huge amount of money on red tape of dubious value.
          Whichever party wins power,has to make huge cutbacks in DoHA, after all Canberra's job is just to write policy, it is the role of the States to administer it.So how many policy officers do we need? We are wasting far too many resources solving Canberra's employment issues with departments like DoHA and and not utilising them correctly in hospitals,nursing homes etc.

          Commenter
          Michael M
          Date and time
          August 20, 2013, 9:52AM
          • know wonder we cant afford health cover when these grubs rip every one off.

            Commenter
            daz
            Date and time
            August 20, 2013, 10:03AM
            • The Department of Health and Ageing,(which does not run Hospitals, the State Government Departments of Health do) exists to do what exactly? 5,500 staff to administer payments to State Government Departments of Health? Really, why do you need 5,500 staff to administer payments to the states? A few Hundred could do that surely? Please, someone tell me, what is it that the Federal "Health" Department exists for? I know that they have responsibilities for Aged care, again several hundred staff could easily administer that!

              Aged Care should be a separate Department as it is going to be the fastest growing drain on the Federal Budget in the coming decades.

              Seriously, and while you are at it, what does the Federal Department of Education do? Administer payments to State Government Education Departments that actually runs schools? The Federal Department of Education looking over the shoulder of the State Government Departments of Education and micro-managing them?

              Give sole responsibility to the States for Health and Education, they run it after all! The Australian Federation is breaking down, and Revenue and Expenditure responsibilities by different levels of Government is at a Crisis!

              Commenter
              John Baron
              Location
              Canberra
              Date and time
              August 20, 2013, 10:05AM
              • Hummm, if I remember correctly isn't this something about Snouts and Troughs.

                Commenter
                OLD DOG
                Date and time
                August 20, 2013, 10:07AM
                • These people are not in industry, they are public servants doing what they are paid to do. This stupidity has to stop.

                  Commenter
                  Sharron
                  Location
                  Canberra
                  Date and time
                  August 20, 2013, 10:39AM
                  • Sharron, the pollies that employ them are simply public servants as well so you can bet as long as they drag in all their little bit extra here and their little bit extra there they are not going to bark about ther employee's

                    Commenter
                    OLD DOG
                    Date and time
                    August 20, 2013, 12:36PM
                • With several administrative layers sitting on top of a budget as large as health, it will always be hard to reign in the parasatism, but with the Ageing Department of Health (DoHA) there are some unnecessary structural impediments to efficiency, including:
                  1. Lack of responsibilities: if you find something you'd like to see done better in Australian health, DoHA can usually correctly say 'It's not our job' - problems with hospital admissions ('not ours ...'), hospital / health system payroll software ('not our job ...'), the list just keeps going.
                  2. Lack of professionalism: partly due to the above, partly due to the Australian Public Service 'generalist' model of administration, you don't need any relevant qualifications to 'administer' health (and gee, I wander what that does to the quality of outputs?).
                  3. Self serving approach to 'administration': if Health moved to a more modern self-assessment plus auditing model, a lot of administrative waste could be removed. The fact that there are multiple levels of administration sitting below DoHA (state/territory, hospital/service unit) is never seen as a grounds for DoHA to find a way to avoid administrative double dipping - it just makes it easier to avoid fessing up to the full extent of administrative waste that goes on.
                  The above is by no means a comprehensive list, nor are any of the observations new or unkown. There are many political reasons why the parasitism just continues (public servants and their unions squeal when their jobs are threatened, political parties like to use public service jobs to buy votes and so on). It's a shame the health consumer and taxpayer have to carry the burden.

                  Commenter
                  stop the rorts
                  Date and time
                  August 20, 2013, 10:41AM

                  More comments

                  Comments are now closed

                  Related Coverage

                  Featured advertisers

                  Special offers

                  Credit card, savings and loan rates by Mozo