Freeze on MPs' pay

TASMANIAN politicians' salaries will be frozen while the government considers a report on parliamentarians' pay and entitlements.

While most workers receive a pay increase on July 1, the state's 35 MPs' pay packets will remain the same.

Uncertainty has surrounded the future of the state's politicians' wages since the previous link to their federal counterparts was severed in 2011 to avoid a massive 38 per cent pay rise, but agreement can't be reached on an alternative.

The Tasmanian Industrial Commission is reviewing the issue and will hand its recommendations to Premier Will Hodgman on May 31.

The matter was sent to the commission after the former government's proposal to link MPs salaries with senior bureaucrats' wages was rejected by the upper house.

Last July, MPs received a 2 per cent increase taking their basic salary to $118,466. The Premier is paid more than double that and his ministers earn an extra $95,000.

The report is required to be made public in June but its recommendations are not binding.

The Liberals have not outlined a position on how politician's pay is determined and did not make a submission to the commission.

As the state faces a $1 billion budget black hole, the new government risks a public backlash over any moves to increase their own wages.

In their submissions, public sector unions urged the commission to keep politicians pay rises at the same level of the average public servants of about 2 per cent a year.

The Health and Community Services Union suggested our elected representatives be subject to the same demands of productivity gains as the public service.

"A simple way to increase productivity and demonstrate parliamentarians commitments to `value for money' would be to increase the number of sitting days," HACSU's state secretary Tim Jacobson wrote.

He recommends an extra six days be added to the sitting calendar to debate legislation.

However, the idea is unlikely to be adopted by the commission.


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