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Wednesday, 17 March 2010
Page: 2724

Dr KELLY (Parliamentary Secretary for Defence Support and Parliamentary Secretary for Water) (10:06 AM) —I move:

That this bill be now read a second time.

Section 66 of the Constitution prescribes the maximum annual amount that can be paid out of the Consolidated Revenue Fund for the salaries of ministers of state, unless the parliament provides otherwise.

The parliament has otherwise provided for the maximum amount payable in section 5 of the Ministers of State Act 1952, which currently limits that amount to $3.2 million each financial year.

This amount needs to be increased to $3.5 million to pay ministerial salaries at current levels for 2009-10—and for future financial years—and to meet any additional expenditure, such as payment of additional salary for acting arrangements.

There have been 29 amendments to the amount set under section 5 of the Ministers of State Act 1952, since its introduction in 1952. This averages one amendment every two years. This section was last amended in 2006 and is therefore well overdue for the regular amendment. This constant cycle of amendments is not the most efficient way of dealing with this matter. Enabling the maximum sum available for ministerial salaries to be provided for by regulation obviates the need for recurrent amendments to the act. As such regulations would be subject to disallowance, there will continue to be parliamentary scrutiny of any future changes to the amount.

I commend the bill.

Debate (on motion by Mr Billson) adjourned.