21/11/2006 - 21:00

Fong, power executives top public sector ranks

21/11/2006 - 21:00


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Health supremo Neale Fong has retained his status as Western Australia’s highest-paid public sector employee, followed by the chief executives from a clutch of public trading enterprises.

Fong, power executives top public sector ranks

Health supremo Neale Fong has retained his status as Western Australia’s highest-paid public sector employee, followed by the chief executives from a clutch of public trading enterprises.

Initially recruited by the state government to lead its health sector reforms, Dr Fong then widened his responsibilities by becoming director general of the Department of Health.

His total remuneration last year was $565,000, putting him well ahead of all other public sector employees.

The chief executives of the four entities created by this year’s break-up of the old Western Power all ranked highly, though their total income will depend on their performance.

The chief executive of the new Western Power, Doug Aberle, was employed on a base salary of $335,000, with the potential to earn an extra $125,000 subject to performance.

The power generation business, Verve Energy, employed John Lillywhite on an equivalent package, though he resigned recently to become chief executive Australia of struggling biofuels producer Australian Renewable Fuels.

Arfuels said Mr Lillywhite had a desire to work directly in the renewable energy sector, though it remains to be seen whether his move was also motivated by the opportunity to earn a higher income in the private sector.

Arfuels managing director Darryl Butcher earned $320,000 last year; it is likely that Mr Lillywhite’s package will include share options, giving him the potential to substantially boost his total remuneration if the company lifts its performance and therefore its share price.

Apart from this example, it is clear that public trading enterprises face an uphill battle when competing for talented staff against private sector companies.

Alinta managing director Bob Browning, whose company competes directly against the state-owned power businesses, earned a total of $2 million last financial year, including nearly $980,000 in bonuses.

Alinta was also able to reward members of its executive team with large bonuses and share options.

General manager strategy Chris Indermaur earned a total of $1.3 million after being awarded bonuses totalling $823,000, while general counsel Murray King earned a total of $587,000 after being awarded nearly $300,000 in bonuses.

Water Corporation chief executive Jim Gill, who has overseen construction of the state’s first desalination plant, earned a big pay rise last year to $419,000, up from $361,000 the previous year.

Fremantle Ports has a long established practice of paying bonuses to its executive team.

Chief executive Kerry Sanderson earned a total of $368,000 last year, including a $59,000 bonus, up from $308,000 in the 2004 financial year.

Department of Premier and Cabinet director general Mal Wauchope ranked as the highest paid executive in a traditional public service role.

His income is based on the salary bands set by the Salaries and Allowances Tribunal, which also sets salaries for politicians and judges.

Mr Wauchope earned a total of $344,057 because he is classified as a ‘group 4 maximum, non-tenured’ executive and has completed three years continuous service in that position.

Under treasurer Tim Marney was the only other public servant classified as ‘group 4 maximum’.

His salary was $312,779 because he has not completed three years in the role.

Five other executives had a ‘group 4 minimum’ ranking.

Three of these people – Industry and Resources director general Jim Limerick, Department of Planning and Infrastructure director general Greg Martin and WA Treasury Corporation chief executive David Butler – had also served three years and therefore earned $305,000 last year.


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