Lisa Wilkinson will reportedly rake in $2.3 million a year with her new gig at Channel Ten, over five times the amount of the ABC’s highest-paid host at $460,000 a year.
The top presenter at the national broadcaster is a woman, but managing director Michelle Guthrie has remained tight-lipped on the star’s identity.
Despite the secrecy surrounding the network’s richest talent, industry insiders claim Leigh Sales, host of ABC’s flagship news program 7.30, holds the top job.
Other frontrunners understood to have secured similar salaries at the ABC include ABC News NSW weeknight presenter Juanita Phillips and Q&A host Tony Jones.
Another frontrunner understood to have secured a similar salary at the ABC is breakfast host Virginia Trioli
The ABC refused a government request to disclose the salaries of its 150 highest-paid staff, but revealed 20 of its top stars earned between $225,000 and $460,000.
But leaked salary lists from 2011-12 showed Q&A host Tony Jones was the ABC’s highest paid talent on $355,789.
It’s understood Jones took a pay cut after Lateline was axed earlier this year.
Sales was earning $280,400 five years ago while Phillips was on $316,454. Both women are understood to have boosted their salaries significantly since then.
Other well-paid women included ABCTV breakfast host Virginia Trioli who earned $235,664, and Radio National breakfast host Fran Kelly on $255,000 in 2012.
Personalities including radio top earner Sydney drive presenter Richard Glover on $290,000, and Melbourne Mornings presenter Jon Faine on $300,000 were also above the $200,000 mark.
ABC’s online political editor Annabel Crabb, who also presented various TV shows, was on $217,426.
Lisa Wilkinson will reportedly rake in $2.3 million a year with her new gig at Channel Ten, five times the amount of ABC’s highest-paid talent
Leaked salary lists from 2011-12 showed Q&A presenter Tony Jones was the ABC’s highest paid talent on $355,789, but he has since been overtaken after Lateline was axed
Managing director Michelle Guthrie denied there was a gender pay gap at the public broadcaster at a Senate estimates committee hearing on Tuesday.
She said the highest-paid presenter was a woman who earned about one-eighth of the BBC’s top presenter, Top Gear host Chris Evans who took home $3.7 million.
That meant the ABC’s top presenter was paid about $460,000 – more than $150,000 higher than the top woman’s salary on a leaked list from 2011-12.
Ms Guthrie said the ABC lead the way in gender representation on its board and in the employment and salaries of its staff.
‘There is no pay gap unfavourable to women at any level in the ABC. We have parity across our executive and our senior on-air talent,’ she said.
Ms Guthrie did confirm she was the highest-paid employee with an annual pay packet of $900,000 a year including superannuation, set by the independent Remuneration Tribunal.
The ABC was on October 13 given until the end of November to reveal the individual salaries of its top staff who earn more than $200,000.
ABC managing director Michelle Guthrie refused a government request to disclose the salaries of its 150 highest-paid staff earning more than $200,000
ABC News NSW weeknight presenter Juanita Phillips made $316,454 five years ago
Pauline Hanson gets her figures wrong while slamming SBS and ABC
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Communications Minister Mitch Fifield requested the broadcaster ‘voluntarily’ disclose the names and their pay.
‘Taxpayers are entitled to expect a high level of transparency about how their taxes are being expended on their behalf,’ he wrote.
Mr Fifield threatened to introduce legislation that would force the ABC to reveal the information if it did not comply.
However, Ms Guthrie told the committee she had received advice from the prime minister’s department that revealing individual salaries by name would breach the Privacy Act.
Instead, she made salary breakdown tables, without names, of the top 150 employees paid more than $200,000 publicly available on the ABC website.
‘[The ABC] should not be burdened with quotas, sectional claims, red tape and political vendettas in achieving what the community expects of it,’ she said.
Mr Fifield made the request at the behest of One Nation leader Pauline Hanson, who demanded the increased transparency and a full review of the ABC.
One Nation would in return support loosening media ownership regulations that restricted companies from owning radio, TV, and print at the same time.
ABCTV breakfast host Virginia Trioli was another high-earning woman making $235,664
ABC’s online political editor Annabel Crabb, who also presented various TV shows, was on $217,426