The ABC has launched an investigation into the leaking of confidential payroll details of its top broadcasters and journalists.
A salary document detailing the annual pay of dozens of ABC staffers has been published in The Australian, revealing Lateline host Tony Jones is the public broadcaster’s highest-paid presenter on $355,789 a year.
ABC managing director Mark Scott says he’s very concerned about the release of such private information.
“I think everyone would expect that payroll information should be confidential. It shouldn’t leak,” he told ABC Radio in Melbourne on Wednesday.
“I’m very concerned about that and an investigation has been launched this morning into how that information could have got out.”
The documents show 7.30 presenter Leigh Sales is paid less than Mr Jones, earning $280,400 a year, while Insiders presenter Barrie Cassidy earns $243,478.
Presenter Waleed Aly is paid $187,500 and former political editor Chris Uhlmann earns $255,400 a year, according to the documents.
Mr Scott said a Senate estimates hearing had already decided it wasn’t in the public interest to release the ABC’s payroll information.
“This hurts the ABC and it hurts the ABC’s ability to attract and maintain talent,” he said.
He added that most private sector executives would believe the ABC’s salary rates are far less than those in commercial television and radio.
ABC Melbourne Radio presenter Jon Faine was reported to earn $285,249 in the leaked documents.
On his morning breakfast show he confirmed he did make that amount a few years ago, but revealed he recently signed a new contract for $300,000 a year.
“I’m not embarrassed. I’m annoyed,” he said of the salary information being released.