Top-earning principals’ pay packets revealed

Annual reports tabled in Queensland’s state parliament show that some principals are being paid between $314,000 and $415,000 a year, dwarfing the salaries of their state counterparts.

One Townsville principal’s salary even exceeded that of the Queensland State Premier, Annastacia Palaszczuk, who earns $385,720 a year.

The Courier Mail reported the top five earning Grammar school principals in 2015, which compared to top earning principals in other state schools with a base wage of $158,260 plus a car allowance of $26,030. They were:
  • Townsville Grammar School principal, Richard Fairley; base $415,000 total package $480,000
  • Toowoomba Grammar School headmaster, Peter Hauser; base $389,000 total package $489,000
  • Brisbane Grammar School headmaster, Anthony Micallef; base $381,000 total package $467,000
  • Brisbane Girls Grammar School principal, Jacinda Euler; base $374,708 total package $414,558
  • Rockhampton Grammar School principal, Phillip Moulds; base $314,173 total package $439,804
In state schools, principals earn between $110,000 and $158,260 with top-end executive principals also eligible for a car allowance of $26,000.

However, the author of the Australian Principal Occupational Health, Safety & Well-being Survey, Philip Riley, told The Educator he saw the issue as one of fairness.

“Are the Independents paid too much or the others too little? I think there is a middle ground between the two extremes, and I would like to see a sabbatical system introduced rather than large wage increases,” he said.

“I think all principals would benefit from time to reflect on their work and role without the constraints of daily work every seven years or so, including the independents.”

Riley added that principals of large schools are the equivalent of CEOs running medium-to-large corporations with hundreds of staff and $20-25m discretionary budgets – including multiple stakeholders.

“It could be an argument that we don’t pay politicians enough and so you don’t get the quality the country needs,” he said.

“For example, many Vice-Chancellors around the country earn close to or more than double the Prime Minister – but this list might be exhaustive.”

A spokesman for Brisbane Grammar School told The Courier Mail that the total remuneration package of the school’s headmaster, Anthony Micallef – which last year hit $467,000 – reflected the fact that he had worked for the school for 23 years and had accrued long service leave and other entitlements.