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Anger as MP pay rises 9%

 Ipswich West Sean Choat.
Ipswich West Sean Choat. Claudia Baxter

THE UNION movement has slammed Queensland MPs' $11,000 plus pay rise as "a slap in the face" to workers.

But Ipswich West MP Sean Choat, a vocal critic of the previously proposed $57,000 pay rise, has defended the decision as "reasonable".

An independent remuneration tribunal has made the ruling on the $11,699 pay rise that includes a backdated 5.35% rise from August 2011 and a 3.02 % raise from July 1, 2013.

MPs' pay will go from $137,149 to $148,848, an 8.53% raise.

Queensland Secretary of United Voice Gary Bullock said the raise was "a slap in the face for ambulance officers".

"If ... they have to receive any pay increase it should reflect the government's current policy in relation to public sector workers and be 2.2%," he said.

"This government has forced our ambos into arbitration for a pay rise which is only conditional on them giving up essential conditions...(and) refusing to back down and will not let ambulance officers keep their meal overtime allowances and a fair rostering system.

"They put their lives on the line 24/7 protecting Queenslanders, yet this government thinks politicians deserve a much higher pay increase."

Queensland Council of Unions secretary Steve Franklin said politicians "see themselves as being above everybody else".

"We've got the LNP slashing 14,000 public service jobs but how serious are they about saving money when they give themselves a huge pay increase?

"They could have given themselves a meagre increase, which is the cost of living, which is what we all have to accept. Bradken workers have just accepted 2.5% for the first year and then 3%. Other workers are getting very small pay increases."

But Mr Choat said he was "pleased the tribunal was very conservative in how they have approached this".

"It is not a huge increase," he said.

"They have worked out that since the pay freeze in 2011 there was a differential of 5.35% that had to be made up. If you add the 5.35 to the 3.02 it is a pay rise of 8.37% since August, 2011. I am sure that a lot of the union's enterprise bargaining agreements in the public service gave somewhere between 2% to 3% a year.

"That is 9% over three years. So when you look at it, I don't think (the MPs' raise) is outlandish."

Member for Bundamba, Jo-Ann Miller, says the tribunal's report highlighted the greed of the Newman Government.

"We can all remember Acting Premier Jeff Seeney trying to sneak through a 42% pay rise that would have made Premier Newman's pay packet the same as US President Barack Obama," Mrs Miller said.

"The LNP wanted a $57,000 a year pay rise for MPs. It was only the attack mounted by the Opposition on that attempted swindle of taxpayers, plus public outrage, that caused the government to retreat.

"It set up an independent tribunal which is what the Opposition suggested at the time."

Topics:  ian berry, jo-ann miller, pay rise, sean choat



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