AUSTRALIA Post has refused to reveal the salary of its chief executive, the country’s highest-paid public servant, saying there is “no public interest”.
In 2014, Ahmed Fahour took home a total package of $4.6 million, including a $2.6 million bonus. Last year he took home $2.1 million, turning down a $2.9 million bonus.
In October, the iHerald Sun/i reported Mr Fahour was expected to pocket a bonus of more than $2 million after steering Australia Post to a $36 million profit, following losses of $222 million, but the organisation has refused to release any figures publicly.
In its most recent annual report, the 207-year-old organisation stopped publishing individual salaries, instead providing combined remuneration of all senior executives and directors.
In 2016, eight executives and 12 directors took home a combined $18.7 million. In 2015 that figure was $13.8 million, and in 2014 it was $16.2 million.
In response to a freedom of information request lodged by Fairfax Media, Australia Post refused to reveal Mr Fahours 2015-16 salary because it relates to the commercial activities of the corporation and would involve the unreasonable disclosure of personal information.
It is my view that there is no public interest in the disclosure of personal information pertaining to officers of Australia Post, the companys FOI officer told Fairfax.
A spokeswoman for Australia Post defended Mr Fahours salary, saying it should be compared not with other public servants, but with chief executives of competing companies in the logistics space.
As a Government Business Enterprise not funded by the taxpayer, Australia Post prepares its remuneration disclosures in accordance with Government guidelines, the spokeswoman said.
This has been the case for the last two years. Staff salaries reflect the complexity and size of the business, which generates more than $6.5 billion in annual revenue and employs more than 35,000 people.
She said the company would consider whether to reveal Mr Fahours remuneration package as part of its 2016/17 annual reporting process.
In 2014, the iHerald Sun/i reported that Australia Post donated Mr Fahours $2 million bonus which formed part of his $4.8 million salary for 2013 to an Islamic museum in Melbourne.
Australia Posts total revenues for the 2015-16 financial year were up 3 per cent to $6.6 billion on the back of a parcels boom, but its letters business is set to lose $1.5 billion over the coming five years.
Letters declined by a record 9.7 per cent in 2015-16, bringing losses of $138 million, but a potential extra $300 million in losses was avoided by overhauling the division in January. Mr Fahour said that, before the reforms, the publicly owned company had been on track to lose $5 billion on letters in that same period.
This is a $3.5 billion turnaround in less losses to protect the taxpayer from the decline in this particular service usage, he said at the time.
The company has previously defended itself against customer complaints of poor service, saying there had been no reduction in Australia Posts service levels.