The State Government broke new ground this year when it recruited Dr Neale Fong to head its health reform taskforce on a salary package worth up to $538,000.
This made Dr Fong the highest paid public sector employee in Western Australia, ahead of Western Power managing director Tony Iannello whose package is worth just under $500,000.
Other highly paid public sector executives include Economic Regulation Authority chairman Lyndon Rowe ($332,000), Water Corporation chief executive Jim Gill ($322,000), and Fremantle Ports chief executive Kerry Sanderson ($308,000).
Most of the State Govern-ment’s department heads earn between $230,000 and $260,000.
These figures reveal a significant mismatch between public sector and private sector salaries.
This is highlighted by comparing Western Power’s Mr Iannello with Alinta managing director Bob Browning.
Both organisations emerged from the former State Energy Commission of WA and are direct competitors in the energy market.
The privatised Alinta paid Mr Browning a base salary of $650,000 and a bonus and incentives last year worth $367,111.
By comparison, Mr Iannello earns a base salary of about $450,000 and may earn a 10 per cent performance bonus .
Dr Fong, who was formerly chief executive of St John of God Healthcare Subiaco, will receive an annual salary of $448,000 and a performance bonus of $53,856 a year, based on the implemen-tation of the Reid committee’s recommendations.
Health Minister Jim McGinty acknowledged Dr Fong’s package was generous but said it was what the market attracted.
“The Government needed to head-hunt the best person from the private hospital sector for this position and that is what we have got in Dr Fong,” he said.
“For the first time in health we are offering a performance-based salary that will only be paid on delivery of these wide-ranging reforms.”
In response to public comments about Dr Fong, St John of God Healthcare took the unusual step of issuing a media release stating that his former salary was $350,000.