Members of Queensland’s state parliament have received their first pay rise since 2017.
The annual base salary for parliamentarians increased from $159,122 to $162,304 today as part of a three-stage pay rise that will see the base salary reach $170,105 per annum by this time next year.
Ministers and other office holders will enjoy an even larger increase. Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk’s annual salary has jumped from $399,955 to $407,954 — she therefore overtakes Steven Marshall to claim the third-highest salary of the six state premiers.
Steven Miles, as Deputy Premier, has seen his annual salary rise from $351,788 to $358,824. He now earns more than Western Australian Premier Mark McGowan, whose salary increased slightly to $356,681 per annum earlier this year.
The pay rise brings Annastacia Palaszczuk’s salary into line with that of Gladys Berejiklian, who has earned $407,980 per annum as Premier of New South Wales since her last salary increase in mid-2019. Palaszczuk’s next pay rise, scheduled for 1 March next year, will see her overtake Berejiklian to become the second highest-paid Premier in the country.
By this time next year, Palaszczuk (who, as Opposition Leader, was highly critical of then-Premier Campbell Newman for receiving a substantial pay rise in 2013) will take home $427,561 per annum.
Daniel Andrews, however, will remain the highest-paid Premier for the foreseeable future. The yearly salary of the Victorian Premier has increased from $394,917 to $452,475 in the last two years.
The salary increase for Queensland politicians hasn’t come without controversy. Last year, Annastacia Palaszczuk promised the public that Queensland parliamentarians would not receive a pay rise until 2023, but when Queensland’s Independent Remuneration Tribunal announced in May this year that parliamentary salaries would, in fact, increase in 2021 and 2022, Palaszczuk insisted that she had no control over the decision.
Palaszczuk’s pay rise has now arrived amid outrage over the Premier’s handling of state borders and hotel quarantine. Seven days ago, Queensland declared a two-week pause on hotel quarantine arrivals from Victoria, New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory, but the pause seemingly did not apply to the Australian and Indian women’s cricket squads, which were able to enter the state while Queenslanders were locked out.
After facing heavy backlash, the Premier announced today that the hotel quarantine ‘pause’ would end on Saturday, with 50 additional rooms to be made available to Queenslanders wishing to enter the state.
Meanwhile, legislation that would merge the QSuper and Sunsuper superannuation funds was introduced into state parliament today, and Queensland’s ban on single-use plastic items came into effect. The government now encourages anyone who suspects a Queensland business of illegally supplying single-use plastic products — such as plastic straws, cutlery, bowls and plates — to call a hotline and submit a report.