CEO Remuneration : Government Sector

There has been recent press comment on the most highly paid executives working for the Commonwealth Government.

Among those disclosures in the relevant Remuneration Reports were the CEO of Australia Post whose total reward in the 2019 financial year stood at $2,565,226, including $47,573 in long service leave provisioning (base salary $1,441,247).  The company employs more than 35,000 people and has total revenues of approximately $7 billion, total assets of $5.535 billion, and net assets of $2.3 billion (asx comparator by revenue, median salary : $2,049,838)

In the 2019 financial year, NBN had revenue of $2.83 billion, its total assets stood at $32.75 billion and its net assets $7.33 billion.  Its 2019 Annual Report revealed that the CEO received total remuneration of $2,609,257, including $1,695,760 base salary and fees, an annual incentive of $828,482, and a long service leave provision of $64,484.

In the 2019 financial year, the Chief Executive of the Future Fund, with oversight of $162.4 billion in invested assets, received fixed remuneration of $648,591, a bonus of $770,759 and total reward of $1,467,782 including a long-term incentive provision of $23,432.  The organisation’s return on funds stood at 11.5% for the financial year.

The Governor of the Reserve Bank, with stewardship of $98.8 billion of financial assets in numerous currencies and stewardship of Australia’s monetary policy as well as oversight of staff numbering around 1,380 and with a payroll approaching $228 million, received a base salary of $911,728, and a superannuation contribution of $116,962.   The Governor received no annual bonus. The level of superannuation contribution reflects the Governor’s participation in a defined benefit retirement plan.

The Managing Director of the ABC with oversight of a complex business impacting on all Australians with oversight of expenditures exceeding $1 billion annually and $1.4 billion in assets.  received a base salary of $799,136, plus a superannuation contribution of $73,310.

In the 2019 financial year, the SBS had operating expenditure of $406 million, total assets of $282 million and generated revenue of $125 million.  They have a staff compliment of 935.  The Managing Director received a base salary of $659,414, other benefits of $7,179 and a superannuation contribution of $82,728 .

ASIC in 2019 had operating costs of $432 million including employment costs of $227 million. The Chair of ASIC received a base salary of $783,535, and a superannuation contribution of $25,000.

The Secretary of the Department of Defence having shared oversight, with the Chief of the Defence Forces of an organisation with an international focus with total expenditure around $33 billion, total assets in excess of $105 billion recieved a base salary of $759,452, other benefits of $2,627 and $106,672 in superannuation contributions.

The Head of the Department of Prime Minister & Cabinet received $914,460 in the 2019 financial year.  The Head of Treasury received $892,290, and the Heads of the Department of Defence, Finance, Foreign Affairs & Trade, Health, Home Affairs, Industry, Innovation & Science, Services Australia and Social Services received rewards in the range of $864,580 to $775,910. For less substantial departments, fixed remuneration ranged from $720,480 to $775,910.  Secretaries do not receive any annual bonus or any long-term incentives.

With significant disparity between public and private sector reward and observations arising from the Thodey Review of the Commonwealth Public Service questions will arise in relation to the impact which current pay policy has on both attracting and retaining executives with knowledge and experience relevant to the nations domestic and global priorities.