Heads rolled this week when it was revealed that Ahmed Fahour, Managing Director and CEO of Australia Post, earns ten times more than the Prime Minister.
After attempting to block a request to disclose the salaries of its senior management team, claiming it would result in ‘unwarranted media attention’ and ‘brand damage’, Australia Post was directed to release the information. In past years, all such salaries were public knowledge, until in 2014/15 it was decided that the total sum be provided rather than individual pay.
Senator James Paterson, Chairman of the parliamentary committee tasked with reviewing the salaries of the Government-owned entity’s executives, revealed that Fahour received a $4.4 million salary along with a $1.2 million bonus in the last financial year, bringing his total package to $5.6 million, leaving Prime Minister Malcolm Turnball’s $522,000 pay looking paltry by comparison.
“I think that salary, that remuneration is too high,” Turnbull told reporters on Wednesday. “As someone who has spent most of his life in the business world before coming into politics, I think that’s a very big salary for that job.”
John Stanhope, Chairman at Australia Post, denied trying to cover up the information. “There’s been no intended secrecy or lack of transparency,” he told ABC‘s AM program. “When we report remuneration, we’re required to follow Government guidelines and we’ve reported it every year as required. The Senate asked a question on notice and we responded and gave them all the information.
“That number, it has his base salary, it’s got some short-term incentives which he earned because the company went from loss to profit in the ‘16 year, it also includes his superannuation. It’s everything.
“It is a Government business enterprise, that is true, but it isn’t actually taxpayer funded, it’s self-funded, so it generates profit and generates its own cash.”
Stanhope stated that 73 per cent of Australia Post’s revenue and all of its profit comes from the parcels business, where it competes against multinational firms such as DHL, FedEx and Toll.
“It’s a very competitive business and we need to pay competitive salaries,” he said.