State MPs 'deserve' a pay rise

Premier Will Hodgman

Premier Will Hodgman

TASMANIAN backbenchers deserve a $10,000 pay rise to bring them closer into line with their counterparts in other states, according to the Tasmanian Industrial Commission.

The tribunal called for an 8 per cent increase to be introduced by the start of next year, but Premier Will Hodgman was quick to rule out any pay rises for politicians in the next 12 months.

The commission found Tasmanian politicians were the lowest paid in the nation and the gap had blown out from 12 per cent below the average in 1996 to 20 per cent. 

An 8 per cent increase to the base salary, phased in over two instalments, would close the gap but would still leave Tasmanian MPs $4775 worse off than the next lowest paid politicians in the ACT. 

The proposed changes would take the basic salary to $128,000, and increase the Premier's pay packet to $275,200 a year.  

The commission rejected returning to a system linking the state parliamentarians' wages with their federal colleagues. 

Instead, the commission argued wages should rise in line with the Wage Price Index for Tasmania. 

The committee also recommended: 

 --Politicians dumped at election or who lose party preselection receive 12 weeks' salary, to cushion the financial blow.

 --MPs who sit on standing committees to forego the $118-a-day sitting fee.

 --Taxi allowance would be scrapped.

 --Electorate allowances be increased by 2.76 per cent and then adjusted according to CPI rather than linked to a percentage of the basic salary in future.

New South Wales and Tasmania are the only states not to provide losing MPs with a resettlement allowance to help them make the change from public office to private life. 

``It is understandable that the sudden loss of a seat will often give rise to a financial shock which, under existing arrangements, is not in any way cushioned,'' the report stated. 

The government's decision to freeze wages for at least 12 months was supported by Labor and the Greens. 

Mr Hodgman said further debate was needed.

``Changes must also be considered in the context of the state budget and a $1.1 billion  black hole,'' Mr Hodgman said.

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