A worker at a Western Australian port pocketed almost $1million after claiming back 333 days in overtime.
Robin Liley earned $993,000 in 2019-20 after being paid an additional $606,000 on top of his salary for working as both the harbour pilot and harbour master at the Albany Port on the state’s south coast between 2018 and 2019.
Two pilots had been working but when the other resigned, Mr Liley was left to cover two high pressure roles at the port simultaneously.
The Southern Ports Authority decided against giving the worker time in lieu to avoid further staff shortages and said the overtime would instead be paid back all at once.
Robin Liley earned $993,000 after being paid an additional $606,000 on top of his salary for working as both the harbour pilot and harbour master at the Albany Port (pictured) on the state’s south coast between 2018 and 2019
‘This pay adjustment relates to a balance of time in lieu paid in cash, as well as some back pay for performing acting higher duties during the period,’ the Southern Ports Authority annual report stated.
‘The Port of Albany Harbour Master, in covering the pilotage function for an extended period in 2018 and 2019, has accumulated a large amount of time in lieu which could not be practically cleared and it was agreed that the paying of these entitlements as a lump sum was the most appropriate treatment.’
Opposition Leader Liza Harvey said she was outraged to learn how the worker had been so underpaid.
‘This should have had alarm bells ringing in the ears of the Labor Government,’ she told the West Australian.
‘West Australians should be outraged that a government entity would allow someone on a base salary of $268,000 to get paid $993,000.’
Ports Minister Alannah MacTiernan (pictured) said that due to one pilot resigning, Mr Liley had been left to cover two roles at the port for two years
Meanwhile, Ports Minister Alannah MacTiernan put the blame on the ‘chaos’ created by the government after the amalgamation of port functions in 2014.
She said the second pilot had resigned in June, 2018 soon before the inaugural CEO left.
‘Amid the management turmoil at Southern Ports, the first pilot took over full duties at Albany Port — effectively one person filling two roles,’ she said.
A new CEO, Steve Lewis, was appointed in January, 2019 and began the recruitment process for a new pilot in April.
‘When Mr Lewis considered interim arrangements, he determined that as Captain Liley was ready and able to continue in this dual role — and as this would be a less costly option than obtaining pilotage coverage from Fremantle — he would allow the arrangement to stand until a new pilot could commence,’ Ms MacTiernan said.
A second pilot was eventually hired in October, 2019 but hand to undergo a six month training period.
‘Effectively this meant Captain Liley filled two roles for two years, as well as requiring higher duties for a period. It was decided a pay out was preferable to time in lieu to prevent another backfill situation arising,’ she said.
Ms MacTiernan said after the debacle, Southern Ports introduced measures to ensure the situation wouldn’t happen again.
The port pilot had worked a total of 333 days in overtime after another staff member resigned (pictured Albany Port)