End of the line for MP perks

Pilbara News - - Election 2017 - Daniel Mercer

Perks avail­able to for­mer State MPs will be axed or scaled back af­ter a de­ci­sion by the in­de­pen­dent um­pire that sets politi­cians’ pay.

The Salaries and Al­lowances Tri­bunal last week re­vealed long­stand­ing ar­range­ments for MPs elected be­fore 1999 would be abol­ished im­me­di­ately.

The changes, in line with rec­om­men­da­tions by Colin Bar­nett, in­clude an en­ti­tle­ment to travel by rail or con­vert­ing the en­ti­tle­ment to a re­turn air­fare across Aus­tralia — a perk the tri­bunal said was from the days when the State Gov­ern­ment owned the rail­ways and the cost of pro­vid­ing free travel was min­i­mal. How­ever, it said times had “sig­nif­i­cantly changed” and the ben­e­fit was “no longer ap­pro­pri­ate”.

Also con­tained in the tri­bunal’s rul­ing was a de­ci­sion to “sig­nif­i­cantly re­duce the scale” of ben­e­fits avail­able to for­mer pre­miers.

The SAT said WA’s six liv­ing for­mer pre­miers would no longer have au­to­matic ac­cess to an of­fice, staff and a Gov­ern­ment ve­hi­cle in the six months af­ter they left of­fice.

In­stead, they will now have to claim expenses pro­vided they have been “rea­son­ably” in­curred and arisen “di­rectly” from their for­mer role.

This will ap­ply to the Premier re­gard­less of whether he wins or loses Satur­day’s State elec­tion.

Af­ter a string of neg­a­tive quar­ters dat­ing back to early 2015, WA Premier Colin Bar­nett has at last re­ceived good eco­nomic news that the do­mes­tic side of the State econ­omy has grown for the first time in 18 months.

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