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Thursday, 8 December 2005
Page: 22

Dr STONE (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Finance and Administration) (10:41 AM) —I move:

That this bill be now read a second time.

Section 66 of the Constitution prescribes the maximum annual pool of funds from which salaries of ministers can be paid, unless the parliament provides otherwise.

The Ministers of State Act 1952 is the mechanism by which parliament adjusts the pool of funds available for this purpose. Amendments to the Ministers of State Act are therefore required from time to time to cover changes in the level of ministerial salaries.

Senators’ and members’ base salaries are determined by the reference point of the Principal Executive Officer band A, in Remuneration Tribunal Determination 15 of 1999, as amended from time to time.

In 1999 this government adopted the recommendation of the Remuneration Tribunal that the additional salary of ministers be tied to the Principal Executive Officer band as a percentage of base salary.

On 9 May 2005 the Remuneration Tribunal determined new rates for the Principal Executive Officer band, with effect from 1 July 2005. These new rates have flowed to senators and members and to ministers.

The act currently limits the sum appropriated to $2.8 million. This sum needs to be increased to $3.2 million to meet increases in ministers’ salaries in this financial year and to cover any possible increases in the future following Remuneration Tribunal reviews.

I commend the bill to the House and present the explanatory memorandum.

Debate (on motion by Mr Murphy) adjourned.