FROM SENATOR JAMES
9 February 2017
E & OE
My question is
for the Minister for Communications, Minister Fifield.
Minister update the Senate on the issue of executive remuneration at Australia
I thank the
Senator for his question.
On 7 February,
the Senate Standing Committee on Environment and Communications released
Australia Post’s answers to questions on notice from the October Estimates.
information disclosed that the Managing Director of Australia Post earned a total
of $5.6 million in 2015-16, including $4.4 million in short-term employee
benefits and $1.2 million in post-employment benefits.
the view of the community, the Government, the Prime Minister and myself is
that the current level of executive remuneration is out of step with community
also agrees with the Senate Committee’s unanimous view that there is a public
interest to report the executive remuneration offered at GBEs, and that GBEs
should be held to a high standard of disclosure.
Yesterday I called the Chairman of Australia Post to make these views clear.
myself and my joint shareholder Minister, Senator Cormann, yesterday wrote to
the Chairman of Australia Post requesting:
the Board give more rigorous consideration to remuneration packages offered to
the Board should be conscious of community expectations in relation to
the Board take executive remuneration into account when seeking to reduce
operational costs and,
the Board should ensure greater transparency in relation to executive
While the setting of executive remuneration is the responsibly of the Board of
Australia Post, the letter makes clear that the Board needs to be able to
justify its decisions to the Australian public.
What is the
Minister’s view on the issue of transparency in reporting of the remuneration
of commonwealth enterprise executives?
the Australian community deserves high levels of accountability and
transparency from Government Business Enterprises.
Australia Post’s reporting of senior executive remuneration is in accordance
with the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability (PGPA) Act, it is
not in line with the community or government expectations. Australia Post
should provide transparency of executive remuneration which goes beyond its
obligations under the PGPA Act.
I have asked
the Board to follow the practice of other GBEs, which disaggregate reporting of
senior executive remuneration in Annual Reports.
The PGPA Act should be viewed as the floor, not the ceiling, in the disclosure
requirements of a GBE.
should community standards play in the setting of executive remuneration by the
Boards of government business enterprises?
we recognise that according to the PGPA Act, decisions regarding senior
executive remuneration are the responsibility of the Australia Post Board.
Ministers also recognise that Australia Post operates in a competitive
However, it is
the Government’s view that the Board of Australia Post should be conscious of
community expectations when determining remuneration for senior executives, and
be and prepared to give a public justification to the satisfaction of the
have spoken with the Chair of the Senate Communications Committee, Senator
Paterson, who has indicated that the Committee intends to invite the Chair of
Australia Post to attend the next estimates hearing on 28 February to inform
the Committee of the Board’s response to expressed community and government
concerns, and to do so in that public forum.
I have spoken
to the Chair of Australia Post today to convey my view that he should do so.
All of us who
are employed in the service of the community are rightly accountable to the