WA politicians’ travel perk under microscope

WA politicians’ travel perk under microscope

WEST Australian Premier Mark McGowan wants to remove a perk for MPs that allows them to pocket nearly $7000 a year for travel, even if none is undertaken.

That’s effectively a $27,000 pay rise over a four-year parliamentary term if the allowance isn’t used as intended.

The premier wants to revert to the previous system known as Imprest, under which MPs had to seek approval before using the $6750 per year allowance.

If it wasn’t approved, the money stayed in the state’s coffers.

But the independent Salaries and Allowances Tribunal changed the system in late 2016 so approval is no longer required and the cash is paid directly into MP bank accounts, where it remains even if no travel is undertaken.

Mr McGowan says he has written to the SAT asking for the Imprest system to be returned.

“We didn’t take it out,” he told ABC radio on Tuesday.

“I’ve asked them to reinstate the old arrangements, which is cost neutral.”

Mr McGowan said it was important for MPs to travel around the state so they understood it.

The Corruption and Crime Commission is investigating whether MPs have misused travel allowances, along with a minimum $78,000 per year electorate allowance they receive.

Mr McGowan said his government would consider the CCC’s findings and was supporting the investigation.