Source: The Mercury, Saturday, 17 June, 1995, pp.1-2
By MICHAEL LESTER TASMANIAN MPs will get a pay rise of at least $1300 next month - despite Premier Ray Groom rejecting recom- mendations for an even bigger rise. Mr Groom announced yes- terday he would freeze MPs' salaries at 88.9 per cent of the basic federal salary. That is more than 6 per cent less than the earlier decision that led to the now- notorious 40 per cent rises. But, because of increases in federal pay, even the 88.9 per cent rate will bring new rises in Tasmania. Mr Groom's decision fol- lowed the release of a report from the $50,000 two-month Collier investigation into MPs' salaries. The three-man panel headed by West Australian Salaries Tribunal chairman Bruce Collier, concluded that a fair rate for Tasmanian MPs was 97 per cent of their federal counter- parts base salary. That is 2 per cent MORE than the original figure that sent shockwaves through the community. The Collier Report recom- mended that the new higher figure be phased in over three years. But Mr Groom, who has faced widespread criticism since the 40 per cent pay rise came into effect-and Continued Page 2 More pay for state MPs FROM PAGE 1 who faces an election next year - said it would be inappropri- ate to increase politicians' pay in line with the Collier Report. Mr Groom said he would introduce legislation to freeze the state-federal link at 88.9 per cent and expected the move to be supported by all Tasmanian MPs. He said the matter was now resolved for all time and the Government would not enter- tain any further changes to the salary structure. The decision to freeze the link to 88.9 per cent will nevertheless mean a 1.98 per cent increase in MPs' salaries from July 1 which translates into a $1311 increase in the base pay. The increase also applies to electoral and other allowances which will result in a $3300 pay increase for Mr Groom and a $2600 pay rise for Labor Leader Michael Field and other Government ministers. Had Mr Groom not rejected the Collier recommendations his salary would have bal- looned from a total of $166,843 a year to $201,017 by July 1, 1997. The Collier Report said Tas- manian MPs had exercised more wage restraint than their counterparts in other states and the Commonwealth during the 1980s. Had they continued with the system in place in 1981 would now have a base salary of $74,841. "We are quite satisfied that until the passage of the Novem- ber 1993 legislation increasing the salaries of Members to 95 per cent of the federal rate Members of Parliament in Tas- mania were very seriously underpaid," the Collier Report found. It said the salaries of all other MPs in Australia with the exception of Western Aus- tralia were based on the federal salary and the same should occur in Tasmania. "However, the difference should be slightly greater because of the state of the economy in comparison with other states," the report said. The panel also rejected the argument that Tasmanian MPs should be treated in the same way as nurses, police, teachers and other public sector employees whose claims for national parity had been opposed by the State Govern- ment. The report said that MPs worked long hours, often suf- fered a financial loss in becom- ing a member and accepted the argument that they suffered social dislocation, associated stress and absences from home. The Collier Report found there was "no valid reason" why Tasmanian MPs should not get a flow-on of the special social dislocation allowance paid to Federal MPs since December. Mr Groom said he accepted the pay issue could have been handled better.
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