Adviser bill approaches $8m a year


THE new state government will spend almost $8 million a year on ministerial advisers and spin doctors.

Since seizing power in March, the new Liberal government has hired 73 ministerial advisers to fill 69.9 full- time positions, set to cost $7.2 million a year in salaries.

Three senior advisers, who receive salaries in the top bracket of between $220,000 and $260,000 a year, form the Premier's inner circle.

Highest paid is chief of staff Brad Stansfield, followed by his deputy Jonathon Duniam, who worked in the same roles in opposition.

Veteran Liberal Party election specialist Darcy Tronson's services have been retained on a part-time basis at the highest rate.

Details of the new appointments were obtained by The Examiner through a right to information request.

Recruits include former RACT public policy manager Vince Taskunas, appointed as Infrastructure Minister Rene Hidding's chief of staff, and Stuart Clues, who left his post as executive director of the Housing Industry Association to head up Attorney-General Vanessa Goodwin's office.

The government communications unit, led by former deputy editor of The Mercury Martine Haley, has shrunk to six full-time employees and is projected to cost $659,000 in 2014-15.

The previous Labor Green government employed nine communications staff.

However, the total budget for ministerial and communications staff is slightly up from the former Labor-Green government's spending of $7.3 million.

The state opposition was allocated $800,000 for staff, which it has shared between nine staff. Chief of staff Michael Stedman is the biggest earner among the Labor advisers.


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