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WA port worker paid almost $1 million for overtime

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WA port worker paid almost $1 million for overtime

A West Australian port worker has been paid almost $1 million after claiming more than 300 days of overtime.

Robin Liley received $993,000 in 2019-20 after a $606,000 back payment for work done over two years as the Albany Port harbour master and pilot.

The Southern Ports Authority detailed the eye-watering payout in its annual report.

“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 same period,” the report read.

“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.

“It was agreed that the paying of these entitlements as a lump sum was the most appropriate treatment.”

The payout was revealed in the annual report of the Southern Ports Authority. Picture: Stewart Allen
media_cameraThe payout was revealed in the annual report of the Southern Ports Authority. Picture: Stewart Allen

Ports Minister Alannah MacTiernan blamed it on the “chaos” that followed the amalgamation of some functions at Southern Ports under the previous government in 2014.

“Two pilots had been working at Albany Port. The second pilot resigned from Southern Ports in June 2018, shortly before the inaugural CEO departed,” she said in a statement.

“Amid the management turmoil at Southern Ports, the first pilot took over full duties at Albany Port — effectively one person filling two roles.”

Ms MacTiernan said the McGowan government appointed Steve Lewis as CEO in January last year and he began the recruitment process for a new pilot a few months later.

“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,” she said.

“A second pilot was appointed in October 2019, after which a six-month training period was required.

“Effectively, this meant Captain Liley filled two roles for two years, as well as requiring higher duties for a period.”

Ms MacTiernan said it was determined a payout was preferable to time in lieu to prevent another backfill problem.

She said Southern Ports had introduced measures to ensure a similar situation could not occur again, including succession planning for pilots.

Originally published as Worker’s eye-watering overtime claim

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