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Australia Post Chairman To Face Senate Committee To Justify CEO's $5.6 Million Salary

'All of us who are employed in the service of the community are rightly accountable to the Australian public.'

The chairman of Australia Post, John Stanhope, has been called to face a Senate standing committee on February 28 to explain the $5.6 million salary package of the company's CEO, Ahmed Fahour.

Five other executives also received salaries ranging from $1.3 million to $1.8 million, according to the Sydney Morning Herald.

Speaking to the Senate on Thursday, Victorian Senator Mitch Fifield called the current incomes of senior executives in Government business enterprises (GBEs) such as Australia Post "out of step with community expectations" and that it would be in the public interest for the Chairman to explain the salary.

"There is a public interest to report the executive remuneration offered at GBEs and that GBEs should be held to a high standard of disclosure," he said.

"The Australian community deserves high levels of accountability and transparency from government business enterprises... Australia Post should provide transparency of executive remuneration."

Fifield confirmed he had spoken to Australia Post Chairman John Stanhope to urge him to front the Senate Communications Committee.

"It is the government's view that the board of Australia Post should be conscious of community expectations when determining remuneration for senior executives and be prepared to give a public justification to the satisfaction of the Australian community," he said.

"I've spoken to the chair of Australia Post today to convey my view that he should do so. All of us who are employed in the service of the community are rightly accountable to the Australian public."

The call comes following the release of information from Australia Post's October estimates that showed the CEO of the company earned $5.6 million in 2015-16, including $4.4 million in salary plus bonuses and $1.2 million in super annuation.

His previous salary, released in a 2013-14 annual report, was listed as $1.7 million with a bonus of $2.6 million.

Australia Post is a self-funded government business enterprise and the Federal Government is the company's sole shareholder. It does not receive government funding but is still accountable to Parliament.

Australia Post had initially refused to disclose the salary of Fahour to the Senate committee, claiming there was no public interest in releasing the information. The company requested to release it confidentially instead.

On Wednesday, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull labelled Fahour's salary "too high", despite the size of the company.

"I know it's a big job, it's a big company... but in my view -- and I say this as someone who spent most of his life in the business world before I came into politics -- I think that is a very big salary for that job. It's a very big package of remuneration for that job," he said.

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