Board costs soar to $10m a year

Former treasury boss Don Challen holds two of the highest paid positions as chairman of Transend and Tasmanian Public Finance Corporation.

Former treasury boss Don Challen holds two of the highest paid positions as chairman of Transend and Tasmanian Public Finance Corporation.

THE cost of running a growing list of government boards has soared to $10 million a year, as the Liberal government prepares to take the axe to their numbers.

More than 130 boards are listed on the state government register but the new state government estimates the real number is closer to 200 comprising 1600 members.

The Climate Change Action Council is the only board the government has announced will go so far, as part of its plan to save $2 million.

Details obtained by The Examiner through a Right to Information request show board members' salaries start at nothing and go as high as $119,000 a year to provide advice on a range of matters from flouride and Tasmanian place names to overseeing businesses managing the state's most valuable assets.

There are numerous advisory bodies for all aspects of the aquaculture industry including separate committees on abalone, scalefish, scallops and crustaceans.

These groups have the most members with 14 or 15 people earning $10,434 a year, plus observers, squeezing around the board table.

Former treasury boss Don Challen continues to enjoy a lucrative retirement, holding two of the highest paid positions as chairman of Transend and Tasmanian Public Finance Corporation. They are two of six positions rewarded with $100,000 salaries overseeing state-owned businesses with high turnover and valuable assets.

Mr Challen is also a member of the Motor Accidents Insurance and Retirement Benefits Fund boards, taking his pay packet to $300,000 a year.

Former chairman of Tourism Tasmania Bob Annells swapped that job for the higher paying Forestry Tasmania chair, while also overseeing TasRail. He takes home more than $220,000.

Aurora Energy chairman Geoff Willis earns $125,000, including a small fee for his spot on the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery Board, and former Tasmanian treasurer David Crean earns $109,557 for his key role at Hydro Tasmania.

Former senior executive Christine Mucha's name appears most often on the list, racking up $120,000 sitting on five boards, plus $730 for each day she sits on the Tasmanian Resources Management Appeal Tribunal.

Tasmanian property developer Brett Torossi also appears regularly, with her five board positions also placing her in the top earners.

The $10 million price tag is based on annual salaries paid to members, but does not include superannuation, the cost of positions where remuneration is paid at a daily rate, or other costs.

The list released under RTI also leaves off newly established taskforces to progress planning reforms, oversee the Liberals' policy to extend schools to Year 12 and create a state energy strategy.

The new state government can count on some savings being made when Aurora and Transend merge and begin operating at TasNetworks on July 1.

Smartphone
Tablet - Narrow
Tablet - Wide
Desktop