Australia Parliament
Parliament House, Canberra Pixabay

As Australia's Remuneration Tribunal announced a 3.5% salary rise from July, the base salary of an MP will go up to AU$233,650, adding thousands more annually to the salaries of federal ministers.

After the independent body, which decides the wages of federal politicians and bureaucrats, announced the hike, the prime minister's salary will jump the AU$600,000 mark for the first time. Prime ministers earn an additional 160% along with MP's base salary and opposition leader earns 85% extra.

With the pay hike, Prime Minister Anthony Albanese's annual pay will be AU$607,47, which is an increase from AU$586,929, and Opposition leader Peter Dutton will now receive AU$432,239, The Guardian reported.

Under the new pay scale, backbench MPs will receive an annual salary of about AU$233,643 – up from AU$225,742 the previous year – or about AU$4,493 a week before tax.

Announcing the new structure Monday, the tribunal said pay hike for politicians have been lesser than average wage increase in the country. The hike has been a "modest" 18.25% for public office holders since 2015, while public and private sectors have received a 24% hike for the same period.

The rise was decided after the Fair Work Commission hiked minimum wages in the country, the tribunal stated. In June this year, the commission announced a rise in the minimum wages by 3.75%, which would be implemented from July. Based on the data by the Australian Bureau of Statistics, the average annual salary of an adult who is working in a full time job is AU$98,218.

Apart from salaries, federal politicians receive benefits like travel allowances, transport expenses for parliamentary or political party trips and a budget to send political junk mail and online advertising.

Despite the economy becoming more stable, inflation remained in 2023, ABC News quoted the remuneration tribunal. It added that pay for politicians need to be "competitive and equitable to attract and retain people of caliber."

"Many of these office holders do not expect or require that monetary compensation for their roles in the public sector be set at private sector levels," it said. "Rather, office holders serve for the public good and the opportunity to influence economic and social policy initiatives."

Earlier, the tribunal had announced a 20% pay hike for the Director of Public Prosecutions, Raelene Sharp, KC. Her annual package will now rise from $592,250 to $710,700, The Sunday Morning Herald reported.

The hike also covers employees of the public service, who are part of the Australian Public Service Commission Enterprise Agreement. They will receive a 4% pay rise this year, 3.8 per cent from March 2025, and 3.4 per cent from March 2026.