The chief executive of the company charged with building the Federal Government's National Broadband Network (NBN), Mike Quigley, turned down a higher paying job overseas before committing himself to the $43 billion project, Communications Minister Stephen Conroy today revealed.
NBN Co CEO Mike Quigley
(Credit: Liam Tung/ZDNet Australia)
"He turned down — he won't thank me for saying this — a major telecommunications job overseas to stay and do this job at a substantially reduced salary," Senator Conroy told journalists in Sydney today. "While [his salary] sounds like a large number, and it is, the work that Mike Quigley is doing — it is a bargain basement price for a man of his ability."
Senator Conroy was answering a journalist's question suggesting Quigley's salary was high for a company created and owned by the government. His salary currently sits at $1.95 million. It was brought up today because Quigley is donating a year's salary to a project that will deliver remote rehabilitation therapy using Nintendo's Wii.
"If you look at what he gets paid compared to the rest of the sector here in Australia, you will actually see that this is a modest salary," Senator Conroy said. "All of the NBN Co employees are working well below the market rate".
Quigley confirmed to ZDNet Australia that Conroy's comments had been true.
"I chose to stay in Australia and take on this opportunity because it's a unique challenge," he said. "It's not very often that a telco professional gets to do a job like this.
"It has its challenges, as you could well imagine, but it is quite an exciting prospect. [It's] something that you could step back from at the end and say 'Hey, I was part of a very big, large, national infrastructure project'."