Victorian MPs should match the generosity of their voters during the COVID19 crisis and give up their July pay rises and their overseas travel allowances to boost the May State Budget.
Although COVID19 has motivated some greedy stock-piling by supermarket shoppers it has also prompted neighbourhood acts of kindness and charity - and many local businesses and their communities are finding new ways of supporting each other, for instance forward-buying gift vouchers and providing local deliveries.
Meanwhile in the bureaucracy bubble, on July 1st 2020 state MPs are due to receive the second part of the massive payrise awarded by the Victorian Independent Remuneration Tribunal in 2019.
Premier Dan Andrews is expecting an extra $258,000. That extra pay is more than double the average wage for many Victorians. The allowance portion alone is $55,000.
The Tribunal’s first ever MP pay determination in September 2019 also increased overseas travel allowances for senior MPS...and when backbenchers complained they’d missed out, it backflipped within 3 weeks and reinstated overseas travel allowances for backbenchers in time for Christmas holidays.
Given the widespread effects of COVID19 and the extended impact it will have on overseas travel and large gatherings, no state MP or public servant will need any travel allowance beyond Victorian borders for the foreseeable future.
With Treasurer Tim Pallas predicting dire spending cuts in his May budget, it’s incumbent on the Government to renounce all pay increases for MPs and bureaucrats and a ban on taxpayer-funded overseas travel, so the money can be spent to help Victorians who really need assistance.
I’ll be watching the budget with interest.