The 4.7 per cent pay rise awarded to senior ACT public servants by an independent tribunal is too high, ACT Labor backbencher Bec Cody says.
Senior executives across the public service were awarded pay rises worth thousands of dollars this week, after a significant review by the Remuneration Tribunal found their wages hadn't increased at the same rate as the rest of the public service.
It was also needed to ensure the ACT public service could remain competitive with the federal and NSW public sectors in attracting and retaining talented executives, the tribunal said.
But Ms Cody has labelled the increase "an insult to taxpayers" in a letter to The Canberra Times, saying she stands with every Canberran who is outraged by the increase.
"Regular ACT public sector workers are currently getting 2.7 per cent a year, plus an increase of 1 per cent in their superannuation over 4 years. That public service executives are getting 4.7 per cent pay rises, and some with extras on top of that, is an insult to taxpayers and everyone who works for them," Ms Cody wrote.
The member for Murrumbidgee acknowledged that her own pay would increase by 2.5 per cent on July 1, bringing it up to $168,492 a year.
Ms Cody also said she would block the pay rise for public servants in the Legislative Assembly if that was possible.
"The Remuneration Tribunal got it wrong," she said.
"I’m disappointed that the ACT Labor Government has not been able to do better, and I apologise."
Ms Cody refused to be interviewed or to make further comments on the issue.
Decisions made by the independent Remuneration Tribunal can't be overturned by the Legislative Assembly, unless its members decided to change the legislation regulating the tribunal.
In the government's submission to the determination process, Chief Minister Andrew Barr said he had sought contributions from the members of the Legislative Assembly and explained increases that had been agreed to in enterprise bargaining across the ACT public service.
"It is the government’s view that any general increases in remuneration, allowances and entitlements
for MLAs, ACT Public Service Executives and other statutory office holders issued by the Tribunal should be consistent with the pay increases across the ACT Public Sector," Mr Barr said.