Posted on: 16 May 2022
Veteran Labor staffer Rik Morris has landed himself a hefty public sector pay packet following the state election, handed a newly created position that will cost taxpayers more than $1.4 million over the next four years – an appointment which reeks of “jobs for the boys”.
As the Chief Executive of the recently established “Premier’s Delivery Unit”, it has been revealed Mr Morris’s remuneration package includes a $317,805 salary (including a portion salary sacrificed), $32,195 in superannuation and $4,145 for a car park and accessories.
It’s more than double what he was earning as Peter Malinauskas’ Director of Strategy during the now Premier’s four years in Opposition, which attracted a $157,624 salary according to figures published in July 2021.
Mr Morris has a long history with Labor, working for every South Australian Labor leader since former Premier Lynn Arnold and even running as the party’s candidate in the seat of Florey in the 2018 state election. And it’s not the first time Mr Morris has been dropped into an executive position under a Labor government. He also served as General Manager of the South Australian Tourism Commission and Executive Director in the Department of the Premier and Cabinet between ALP gigs.
Shadow Treasurer Matt Cowdrey said Peter Malinauskas must explain why his priority is parachuting the long serving Labor staffer into one of the state’s top public sector jobs.
“This 10-person unit will cost taxpayers $2 million a year, but the Premier still hasn’t explained why this is exorbitant price tag is required for a job that he and his Cabinet should already be doing,” said Mr Cowdrey.
“On one hand you have Treasurer Stephen Mullighan telling public sector workers to avoid excessive wage claims, yet on the other Peter Malinauskas is giving a long-time Labor staffer a brand new $350,000 role. Labor said every dollar spent settling a wage claim is one dollar less to fixing ramping, but apparently not in this case.
“Peter Malinauskas has some serious questions to answer here, because quite frankly this doesn’t pass the pub test and reeks of jobs for the boys.
“Were normal public sector procedures followed for Rik Morris’s appointment? And if Mr Morris is required does this mean Peter Malinauskas is already questioning his government’s ability to deliver his promises?
“I fear the biggest thing this unit will deliver is an expensive thank you to Mr Morris for his service to the Labor party.”