15 Aug 2019
Adam Langenberg | Political Reporter
Welfare group says hike in Newstart should follow
SOUTH Australian MPs will be paid more than $200,000 for the first time, as Premier Steven Marshall’s pay packet climbs to $401,252.
Under a state Remuneration Tribunal ruling that comes into effect in October, backbench MP salaries will increase to $200,626 after a $537 increase in the common allowance – the amount they receive to compensate for a loss of travel entitlements and fees for sitting on committees.
The annual salary of ministers, Opposition Leader Peter Malinauskas, Speaker Vincent Tarzia and Upper House President Andrew McLachlan has jumped to just above $350,000. Labor frontbenchers salaries will rise to just over $250,000, while the average politician will take home $256,612.
In total, backbench MPs salaries will rise by $4687 on what they took home last year, while Mr Marshall’s pay will increase by just over $9000. Mr Marshall’s salary is almost $150,000 less than that of Prime Minister Scott Morrison, who has an annual pay packet of $549,229. The increase in pay comprises the common allowance spike, as well as a 2 per cent increase to the salary of federal MPs, determined by the independent federal Remuneration Tribunal.
That increase in the rate for federal MPs came into effect just as 700,000 retail and hospitality workers across the nation had their penalty rates cut.
The salaries of state parliamentarians are tied to their federal colleagues, although Greens MLC Mark Parnell has repeatedly tried to break the link.
Mr Parnell last year tabled a Bill that would have allowed local MPs to reject the pay rise, if they believed the state’s economy was struggling or if the increase was not in line with community expectations.
SA Unions secretary Angas Story said he couldn’t have confidence that the local economy would be better off as a result of the MP pay increase.
“But we know that if low paid workers were getting a $5000 pay rise they’d spend it all and boost the economy,” Mr Story said.
SA Council of Social Services chief executive Ross Womersley said the pay increase was “likely to be highly inflammatory to people on Newstart who’ve endured for 25 years on the payment without a proper rise in the rate”.
“It would be right and proper for the SA Parliament to join with unemployed people and pass a motion in support of raising the rate of Newstart.”