Even Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull believes the $5.6 million salary of Australia Post boss Ahmed Fahour is "too high", speaking after the remuneration was revealed despite the company's request to keep the salary and bonuses confidential.
On Wednesday, Turnbull said he believed Fahour's salary was "too high", telling reporters he had called the chair of the Australia Post board, leaving any decision in the board's hands.
"I think that salary, that remuneration, is too high," Turnbull said on Wednesday morning.
"I know it's a big job, it's a big company... but in my view -- and I say this as someone who spent most of his life in the business world before I came into politics -- I think that is a very big salary for that job. It's a very big package of remuneration for that job."
The Prime Minister said he expressed his view as a taxpayer and shareholder in the company through his prime ministerial position -- as the Federal Government is a shareholder.
Australia Post is a self-funded government business enterprise and the Federal Government is the company's sole shareholder. It does not receive government funding but is still accountable to Parliament (due to factors such as the use of public resources).
Australia Post had initially refused to disclose the salary of Fahour to the Senate committee, claiming there was no public interest in releasing the information. The company requested to release it confidentially instead.
After the request was refused, Senate committee chair James Paterson released the information revealing Fahour received a $4.4 million salary with a bonus and $1.2 million in superannuation.
His previous salary, released in a 2013-14 annual report, was listed as $1.7 million with a bonus of $2.6 million.
The Oz Post CEO is effectively our highest paid public servant. That information should not be hidden from taxpayers https://t.co/kEKqtKzxAr— James Paterson (@SenPaterson) February 7, 2017
Paterson, a Liberal Victorian senator, said Fahour was "effectively our highest paid public servant".
"Listed Australian companies are required by law to disclose senior executive remuneration," Paterson told the ABC.
"We should expect at least the same level of transparency from a government business enterprise which has benefited for many years from government-granted monopoly protection."
Labor Senator Sam Dastyari said releasing executive salaries was a "basic accountability measure" and "when public money is involved, the public have a right to know".
Previously the highest paid chief executive of a government business enterprise was NBN Co chief executive Bill Morrow, who pocketed $3.6 million last year.
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