PRIME Minister Tony Abbott is paid less for leading the country than what the highest-paid executive at the University of Tasmania earns in a year.
Mr Abbott is on a salary of $507,000 while the highest-paid University of Tasmania executive is paid more than half a million at $600,000.
The second-highest UTAS earner gets more than $400,000, another two executives take home more than $310,000, and another seven snag more than $200,000.
UTAS would not reveal which executive earned what but Vice-Chancellor Peter Rathjen, Provost Mike Calford and chief operating officer David Clerk would all be in the running for the job that also pays better than the Tasmanian Premier, the Governor-General, and Department of Public Prosecutions roles.
Vice-chancellors are generally paid the big bucks, with five interstate VCs each earning more than a million dollars a year.
Deputy vice-chancellors David Sadler and Paddy Nixon, pro vice-chancellors Janelle Allison and Peter Frappell, senior executive Paul Barnett and several deans of schools would also fall into the more than $200,000-a-year club.
The National Tertiary Education Union national president Jeannie Rea said talks surrounding remuneration were highly relevant given the current Senate inquiry into the Abbott government’s higher education reforms.
She said vice-chancellors had a powerful voice in debates about deregulation and cost shifting to students.
‘‘The transparency of what vice-chancellors are paid and data in relation to performance is especially important in the current public policy debate about Australian higher education,’’ Ms Rea said.
‘‘Especially when the outcomes of this debate might have very important consequences for the cost of attaining a university degree for future generations of Australians.’’
The union believed that Vice-Chancellor Peter Rathjen earnt more than the VCs at University of Southern Queensland, Central Queensland University, University of South Australia, Charles Sturt University and Edith Cowan University.