The Andrews Labor Government has appointed members to Victoria’s first ever independent Remuneration Tribunal, bringing Victoria into line with other jurisdictions and stopping politicians from setting their own pay.
Thanks to the Victorian Independent Remuneration Tribunal and Improving Parliamentary Standards Act 2019, the Tribunal is set to overhaul Victoria’s member allowance system, ensuring politicians pay, conditions and standards are in line with community expectations and current professional practices.
The first Chair of the Tribunal will be Warren McCann, who will be joined by fellow members Professor the Honourable Jennifer Acton and Barbara Belcher.
Mr McCann has had an extensive public service career, with senior appointments in Victoria, South Australia and at the Commonwealth, including as Chief Executive of the South Australian Department of Premier and Cabinet, and Commissioner for Public Sector Employment in South Australia.
The Honourable Professor Jennifer Acton is currently the Chair of the Victorian State Trustees Ltd and the Port of Hastings Developmental Authority. She is an Adjunct Professor of Law at Monash University, where she lectures and writes in employment law and advises on workplace relations matters to companies and governments.
Barbara Belcher AM is a former senior Commonwealth public servant, having held various roles in the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet. She previously chaired the Australian Government’s Committee for the Review of Parliamentary Entitlements and conducted an independent review of whole-of-government internal regulation.
The Tribunal will review the existing salary and allowances for MPs, and will set the value of the Electorate Office and Communications Budget. The Tribunal will also support a Compliance Officer to hear and determine appeals about alleged misuse of funds.
The Tribunal’s first determination for Members of Parliament and VPS Executive Officers must be made by mid-September, with the Tribunal’s first determination for Executive Officers employed by prescribed public entities to be made by mid-March 2020.
The legislation also revises the code of conduct for MPs, increasing the ability for the recovery of payments claimed in breach of the rules, and imposing a 25 per cent penalty on allowances that are misused or claimed inappropriately.
Quotes attributable to Special Minister of State Gavin Jennings
“MPs shouldn’t be able to determine their own pay and the independent Remuneration Tribunal will ensure just that.”
“We are very lucky to have secured the services of Mr McCann, Professor Acton and Ms Belcher who are all highly accomplished and respected – Victorians can have every confidence in their decisions.”
“This reform will ensure that politician pay and conditions are in line with community expectations, and increase transparency about what politicians claim and when.”