The Remuneration Tribunal has today set MPs base salary
at $185 000 effective from 15 March 2012. This amount was foreshadowed in the Tribunal’s statement
and initial report
released on the 15 December 2011. The setting of the base salary had been dependent on the Government introducing legislation to delink increases in base salary and additional salary with the benefits received by former members under the Parliamentary Superannuation Contributory Scheme 1948 (PCSS).
Following the passage of the Remuneration and the other Legislation Amendment Bill 2011
and the Members of Parliament (Life Gold Pass) and other Legislation Amendment Bill 2012
this severing is complete. The Remuneration Tribunal has the authority to determine what portion of the base salary and additional salary will not be counted for superannuation purposes: that amount had been determined as $38 620 for base salary and 20% of the additional salary (as there are different levels of additional salary).
The Tribunal has also introduced additional salary
for shadow ministers, set as a percentage of the base salary, which could be either 20.0% or 25.0%. The Tribunal has allowed the payment of additional salary for the make-up of the current shadow ministry but has foreshadowed that it expects the size of the shadow ministry to be equal to that of the ministry in the future.
The Tribunal has also acted
to reduce the amount of severance travel available to MPs and to gradually abolish the entitlement to overseas study travel. The amount of severance travel is reduced to five return trips in the first six months following retirement from parliament. MPs will no longer accrue an entitlement for overseas study travel but MPs who have an existing entitlement will be able to access the entitlement. The Tribunal has also abolished the need for MPs to make a personal contribution towards a private-plated vehicle.
The eligibility requirements relating to Life Gold Pass, determined by the Tribunal, have not substantially changed but under changes to the Members of Parliament (Life Gold Pass) Act 2002
the scheme has been closed to new MPs.
It is a legislative requirement that the Tribunal release reasons for determinations. These are available on the Tribunal’s website under Tribunal Statements