Ministerial wages and costs blow out by millions

Taxpayers have footed the bill for ballooning ministerial wages at a time when businesses were having to shut their doors and sack staff.

New figures have revealed the total ministerial wages blew out from $14 million from the July to December period in 2019 to $15.5 million for the same period last year (2020).

This is a more than 10 per cent hike when CPI in Brisbane was 1 per cent in December.

But the Palaszczuk Government yesterday defended the hike, with a spokesman saying salary costs reflected flow-on pay rises for public servants which came in before the wage freeze took effect on July 1 last year.

Wages for Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk's office grew from $2.7 million to $3 million.

Minister Steven Miles’s office shaved some money off its wage bill. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Jono Searle
Minister Steven Miles’s office shaved some money off its wage bill. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Jono Searle

Deputy Premier Steven Miles' office saved money, albeit small, with wages decreasing from $1,078,831 to $1,068,401.

Domestic travel across all ministerial offices grew to $939,517 from $819,185.

And charter costs came in at $336,009 - although this is largely due to the October State Election.

But while the government saved money across a number of areas like the use of ministerial vehicles and overseas travel amid the COVID-19 pandemic, total ministerial costs still increased when comparing the two periods - rising to $23.6 million from $21.8 million.

The Opposition is expected to table its expenses tomorrow.

In August last year, the Queensland Independent Remuneration Tribunal decided MPs wouldn't pocket a pay rise for up to four years amid the pandemic.

This meant MPs would not be eligible for a rise until September 2023.

It followed the infamous wage freeze for public servants, which the government passed legislation to implement in June last year.

But about 50,000 public servants did win a pay hike amid the freeze, which came after an enterprise agreement negotiated with the Government fell below the relative award wage.

Brent Mickelberg MP, Member for Buderim. David Clark
Brent Mickelberg MP, Member for Buderim. David Clark

LNP MP Brent Mickelberg yesterday slammed the government for the way it reported ministerial expenses - which is for six month periods followed by a full financial year.

"It's called disaggregation," he tweeted.

"It's like scattering puzzle pieces so you never have the full picture and can't identify trends and issues - like overspend and budget blowouts."

But a government spokesman said reporting arrangements were the same as they were under the LNP and the same as the Opposition followed.

Originally published as Ministerial wages and costs blow out by millions

 


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