South Australian MPs are set for a Christmas bonus, with at least a $30,000 salary boost from next year to make up for the loss of a travel allowance and other entitlements.
The Remuneration Tribunal was asked to decide the pay rise after Premier Jay Weatherill said he wanted to clean up MPs entitlements.
From January an MP’s base salary will increase to about $187,000.
It includes $17,124 to cover the loss of their annual travel allowance and $13,170 will be paid because serving on a parliamentary committee will not be separately compensated.
Every MP will get the rise, even if they do not serve on parliamentary committees or spend less than the annual travel entitlement, which was worth $13,500.
The Remuneration Tribunal said the increase included a calculation of the value of an unlimited gold rail and bus pass and the $1,560 yearly cost of free public transport tickets.
The premier’s wage climbs to $374,000.
‘Cash grab’ feathering MPs’ nests, Greens say
Greens MP Mark Parnell said he was only one of a few MPs to use public transport and it was unfair to pay politicians for a service they do not use.
He said he believes the crossbench MPs will be worse off, with Government ministers the big winners.
“They’re going to get compensated for travel allowance that they didn’t need, they already get ministerial travel allowance,” Mr Parnell said.
“They’re being compensated for bus tickets they never use because they get chauffeur driven cars and they’re being compensated for committee payments that they never received because ministers don’t sit on committees,” he said.
He said Opposition frontbenchers also do well, because of a new 25 per cent salary loading.
“So this really is about the old parties feathering their own nest,” he said.
“I hope members of the public see this as a cash grab especially by ministers who are being compensated for payments they never received or don’t need,” he said.
But Mr Weatherill said the increase was reasonable.
“This decision essentially offsets the abolishment of a raft of entitlements including domestic and international travel allowances, gold travel pass and committee work,” he said.
“This increase means South Australian MPs remain $12,000 below our federal counterparts.”
In a submission to the tribunal, Defence Industries Minister Martin Hamilton-Smith argued for a rise because MPs current pay was not enough to attract the calibre of candidate he would hope for.
He said it was also regularly the case that a minister was paid significantly less than their department’s chief executive and the majority of MPs found it difficult to gain employment after politics.
Law changes linked to the changes also included a new 25 per cent pay loading for shadow ministers.