Shadow Treasurer Rob Lucas said today Premier Weatherill had deliberately delayed gazetting and releasing publicly salary increases for his spin doctors and staffers to avoid scrutiny and criticism.
Yesterday’s Government Gazette (11 Dec) which includes massive increases in salary packages for some Ministerial spindoctors and staffers was finally released 5 months late and after Parliament had risen and just after the Fisher by election.
The 8 highest paid staffers in Weatherill’s office now are;
•Daniel Romeo-Chief of Staff-$194,333 plus private plated car, carpark, home phone(two thirds calls),mobile phone(reasonable use),home broadband and home paper delivery;
•Sam Crafter-Senior Economic Adviser-$185,000 plus $20,000 car allowance plus benefits;
•Bronwyn Hurrell-Deputy Chief of Staff-Communications and Media-$160,000 plus benefits;
•Matthew Ryan-Deputy Chief of Staff-Strategy and Policy-$160,000 plus benefits;
•Jadynne Harvey-Principal Adviser-Policy Development and Implementation-$143,950 plus benefits;
•Matthew Hillard-Media Adviser-$133,250 plus benefits;
•Jarrad Pilkington-Chief Media Adviser-$133,250 plus benefits; and
•Christopher Burford-Premier’s Media Adviser-$125,000 plus benefits.
Ms Hurrell’s salary increase from last year is a massive $30,000 or 23% from a position which has simply been renamed in a feeble attempt to justify such a massive increase.
Similarly Mr Ryan has been gifted a $19,561 or 13.9% increase.
Mr Romeo has been moved from Chief of Staff to the Deputy Premier to his new position but has been given a $46,872 or a 31.8% increase plus a private plated car.
Mr Crafter’s position is actually paid at a level $97,283(90.3%) higher than that paid to the former economic adviser!
Other Ministers have followed Mr Weatherill’s lead and given massive increases to their staffers.
Unbelievably the under siege Education Minister Rankine has given a $24,102 or 23.9% increase to one of her staffers-John Fulbrook. She also gave her Chief of Staff Blair Boyer a $10,709 or 7.6% increase.
Treasurer Koutsantonis has given former ALP state secretary Michael Brown a $24,102 or 23.9% increase from a similar position advising the Minister of Finance.
The standard increase for many of the listed staffers appears to be about 2.5%.
It is now clear why Mr Weatherill has hidden these massive increases from scrutiny for so long because he was fearful of a public and media backlash.
At a time when Mr Weatherill is implementing harsh cuts to hospital and school budgets how can he justify giving greater priority to his spindoctors and staffers.
If Mr Weatherill believes these increases are justified he should have had the courage to release them at the usual time in the first week of July and publicly defended them in the Parliament.