Top diplomat whines £350k salary is not enough to live on in leaked messages

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SHOCKING leaked messages have revealed a top diplomat complaining his £350,000 salary is not enough to live on in London.

The WhatsApp messages show Australian trade envoy Agent-General Stephen Cartwright claiming his pay was not sufficient to support his family’s lifestyle.

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Messages have revealed Australian trade minister Agent-General Stephen Cartwright complaining about his £350,000 salaryCredit: Facebook

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The WhatsApp messages also show Mr Cartwright pointing out how much other trade envoys getCredit: Facebook

Mr Cartwright, who represents Australia’s state of New South Wales in the UK, goes on to say that other trade ministers get more benefits than him, too.

In the messages seen by The Sydney Morning Herald, Mr Cartwright wrote on March 23: “All other AGs and Fed Govt execs have rent, car and school fees covered by their govt.”

Mr Cartwright, who secured the top London-based job in October last year, then reportedly listed some entitlements other representatives from other Australian states were getting while performing their overseas roles.

Mr Cartwright wrote: “The WA Govt is paying 13,500 pounds per month rent – that’s more than my entire net salary!”

He then insisted “something has to be done”, suggesting he would have to consider his future in the Agent-General role.

According to the Herald, he then wrote: “I have had two offers for CEO roles back in Sydney but I would rather stay here and deliver for NSW.

“But I can’t live here for 3 years without an apartment that can accommodate my family (at least on school holidays as the school fees here are twice that of Knox).

“Happy to discuss over the phone if you would prefer but something has to be done.”

Mr Cartwright, who is the former CEO of lobby group Business NSW, secured the lucrative role late last year, and negotiated to be paid £350,000 a year – which included expenses and was higher than any other trade minister’s salary.

His appointment came under scrutiny after it was revealed that he was raised as a potential candidate for the role in mid-February 2021, despite another candidate already being selected for the position and being engaged in salary negotiations.

A NSW Parliamentary Inquiry heard from Dr Marianne Broadbent, Managing Partner of NGS Global, that former secretary of NSW Treasury Michael Pratt asked her firm to interview Mr Cartwright for the role.

Mr Cartwright emerged as the frontrunner for the position, and engaged in protracted salary negotiations with Dr Broadbent and Investment NSW.

The inquiry heard Mr Cartwright had been assured by former Trade Minister John Barilaro and former NSW Treasurer Dominic Perrottet that his base salary would be augmented by generous allowances.

After suggesting a salary in the ballpark of $800,000, Mr Cartwright ultimately negotiated a package of $600,000 per year, which included expenses and was higher than any other trade minister’s salary.

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