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Canberra: the home of the $91,000 (plus overtime) bus driver

By PantsMan - 7 September 2012 34

I was perusing the ACT Treasury’s STANDARD COSTING PARAMETERS 2012 (corrected version) and I happened upon the hitherto unknown costs of actually employing ACT Public Servants.  The stunning numbers are here:

1.2 Cost Elements

Standard or benchmark costs are as follows.

1.2.1 Employment of Frontline Staff (Average Total Cost)

$91,000 per Bus Driver(a)

$95,000 per Classroom Teacher (a)

$132,000 per Fire Fighter (a)(b)

$147,000 per Fire Station Manager (a)(b)

$107,000 per Nurse(a)

$130,000 per Police Officer (Constable rank)(a)

$172,000 per Police Officer (Sergeant rank)(a)

Notes:

(a) Includes on-costs (workers compensation, superannuation, leave etc)

(b) Includes overtime provision

I suppose one is happy to know that some of our 90 per cent subsidy to ACTION is kicking back to the TWU members.  And I suppose classroom teachers will be happy to know they are only $4,000 more worthy.

What’s Your opinion?


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34 Responses to
Canberra: the home of the $91,000 (plus overtime) bus driver
Darkfalz 4:01 pm 08 Sep 12

91k isn’t really that much for Canberra and I wouldn’t take it to be a bloody bus driver and have to deal with certain routes / class of people taking the bus.

DrKoresh 3:12 pm 08 Sep 12

mcleodwealth said :

Australian envy politics at work again. Ever vigilant to ensure that no one gets more than the bare minimum slice of the pie. You can’t pay teachers enough in my opinion, they hold the future of our nation in their hands, or police officers who are often a mental health crisis frontline. Essential services personnel have my support. I have no problem with paying for them. Some other ‘programmes’ I’m not so enthusiastic to fund though.

+1,000,000

mcleodwealth 2:27 pm 08 Sep 12

Australian envy politics at work again. Ever vigilant to ensure that no one gets more than the bare minimum slice of the pie. You can’t pay teachers enough in my opinion, they hold the future of our nation in their hands, or police officers who are often a mental health crisis frontline. Essential services personnel have my support. I have no problem with paying for them. Some other ‘programmes’ I’m not so enthusiastic to fund though.

WillowJim 1:59 pm 08 Sep 12

ROFL at this entire, ludicrous story.

Masquara 1:36 pm 08 Sep 12

School teachers get three months holiday a year vs busdrivers four weeks. So how about an appropriate comparison, Pantsman? Personally I think $67,000 salary per year for a bus driver is about right. Most teachers are on considerably more than that (more like 80,000 + 8 weeks’ extra holidays), which makes them pretty darn well paid.

mcleodwealth 10:08 am 08 Sep 12

Perhaps I am missing something here but I am not sure why workers providing essential services should be targeted. Firstly, this states only cost, not wages, as discussed, so discussion is moot without knowing actual wages. Even so, I’m not really sure it’s a problem what people are paid or what they cost without considering operational leverage – i.e. how much return do we the tax payer get from that investment? If the return is high, who cares what they get paid? It’s a win / win. If the return is low, perhaps there is a systemic or operational issue than a personnel issue. For example, we have all heard the debates about light rail – one interesting proposition being that driver / passenger density increases with light rail, thereby increasing operational leverage. Suggesting that you could increase wages of drivers by even 50% but if you increase passenger throughput per driver by 100% (trains can carry more people than buses not to mention other benefits) then everyone’s a winner – everyone takes a cut – including the tax payer.

I feel for those in essential services in Canberra when you consider the sky-rocketing cost of living in this city, and I would feel better knowing that those serving the city can actually afford to live in it.

I suggest this conversation is not very useful without knowing operational leverage, efficiency and so forth. And it also plays in to an unfortunate Australian cultural cringe that seems to focus on who’s getting what slice of the pie (politics of envy) rather than on how to just increase the pie so we all get a bigger slice – through efficiency, growth, so on. Or even managing a budget well enough so wages are not an issue.

If the system was running efficiently, then who cares what bus drivers cost or get paid, as long as it works for everyone. Why punish people for doing a good job.

trevar 8:27 am 08 Sep 12

knuckles said :

You do realise that these are total employment costs.
The actual salary for these professions is a lot less than what is listed here.

You’re right, but most on-costs are a fixed proportion, so the comparison between the professions holds true, even if the amounts seem higher than you’d expect. And the proximity of bus drivers with these other professions does seem to indicate a very effective union…

Truthiness 11:07 pm 07 Sep 12
LSWCHP 10:29 pm 07 Sep 12

Wanon said :

Everyone else has covered it pretty much. Public servants cost almost as much as their salary to keep them employed after you factor in benefits, leave and HR costs.

The fully trained up bus drivers get a wage of $62k a year. Source: https://www.action.act.gov.au/ACTION%20applicants%20info%20FA.pdf

“On completion of the training and assessment bus drivers will be on a pay rate of $31.72 per hour ($62,880 per anum, pro-rata).”

I’m not in the public service, but the figure I’ve always used in costing an employee is around 2.1 times salary. Once you add up sick leave, rec leave, superannuation, insurance, office space, office supplies, electricity, computers, air-conditioning, toilet paper and every other damned thing, you’ll find it costs a helluva lot more than just salary to put someone on the payroll.

RB78 9:09 pm 07 Sep 12

knuckles said :

You do realise that these are total employment costs..

You’d like to think the OP realised that, given it’s clearly stated in “Notes (a) and (b)” at the bottom of the text that was copied across.

KB1971 8:21 pm 07 Sep 12

knuckles said :

You do realise that these are total employment costs.
The actual salary for these professions is a lot less than what is listed here.

Ahhh but you cant let the truth get in the way of a “good” story………

Wanon 7:43 pm 07 Sep 12

Everyone else has covered it pretty much. Public servants cost almost as much as their salary to keep them employed after you factor in benefits, leave and HR costs.

The fully trained up bus drivers get a wage of $62k a year. Source: https://www.action.act.gov.au/ACTION%20applicants%20info%20FA.pdf

“On completion of the training and assessment bus drivers will be on a pay rate of $31.72 per hour ($62,880 per anum, pro-rata).”

knuckles 7:06 pm 07 Sep 12

You do realise that these are total employment costs.
The actual salary for these professions is a lot less than what is listed here.

agent_clone 7:02 pm 07 Sep 12

Actually that 91k you are talking about appears to be the amount it costs to employ a bus driver, not how much they actually get paid. If you move down the document to Attachment A you will see the figures worked out for the average person. It has a total costing of around 93k for a person with a salary of 67k. There are also additional costings of workers compensation etc. for that employee which then indicates that the bus drivers get less than 67k. 67k is not that high a salary…

p1 6:42 pm 07 Sep 12

The title says “plus over time” but the notes say “includes over time”.

Doesn’t really tell us much though. A pretty big chunk of that $91k would go in the extras we don’t normally think of when stating our income. On the other hand I would think there would be some bus drivers who only work part time hours, and this is an average, someone is making out.

One day when I am really bored I’ll read ACTIONs annual report (assuming they have one).

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