Topic: nsw govt
[Courier Mail story owned by News Ltd]
PREMIER Anna Bligh orchestrated a pay rise of almost $100,000 for her chief of staff role before announcing confessed vote rorter Mike Kaiser would take the job.
Ms Bligh secretly gave the green light to change the job description for the powerful position in order to align it with its higher-earning equivalents interstate.
An independent financial consultant, Mercer, arrived at the figure, she said.
"These are very significant and very responsible positions and frankly I think somewhere in the middle of the pack, given the size of Queensland and our growth and the responsibility of the position, is probably about right," she said today.
The move means Mr Kaiser now pockets a base salary of $211,880 a year, more than the $205,000 he would have been earning as a minister had he not been forced out of politics in 2001.
When superannuation, leave loading and his fully maintained vehicle are included, Mr Kaiser's total package exceeds $268,000 – making him Queensland's highest-paid ministerial staffer.
That means he earns more than Brisbane's Lord Mayor ($205,000), the Opposition Leader ($185,000) and federal MPs ($127,000).
Ms Bligh's base salary is $259,000, while her deputy Paul Lucas pockets just under $223,000.
Ms Bligh said Mr Kaiser took a pay cut to take the position. "Any suggestion that he came up here lured by money is completely and utterly false," she said. "Mike's first decision and threshold was whether or not his family would be prepared to move if he was going to pursue this position."
Opposition Leader Lawrence Springborg said Queenslanders would be offended Ms Bligh had organised such a big pay increase for a Labor mate.
"When our nurses, teachers and police have to fight tooth and nail to get a 4 per cent pay rise, it irks Queenslanders to see Ms Bligh personally approving pay rises of $100,000 for Labor Party members," Mr Springborg said.
Ms Bligh admitted she was in discussions with Mr Kaiser when the pay increase happened, but insisted negotiations had not progressed to monetary terms.
"There had been no discussion about salary. He was still making a decision about whether to move his family," Ms Bligh said.
She said she had revealed Mr Kaiser's base salary in Parliament and said the package needed to be altered to ensure the Government could attract quality candidates.