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Thursday, 31 August 2000
Page: 17161

Senator O'Brien asked the Minister for Veterans' Affairs, upon notice, on 10 April 2000:

(1) How many agencies within the Minister's portfolio are administered by a board.

(2) Are all members of the above boards appointed by the Governor-General on the advice of the Executive Council; if not, who is responsible for making board appointments.

(3) In each case, does the Remuneration Tribunal have a role in the setting of fees, allowances and other benefits for members of the boards; if not: (a) under which section of the relevant legislation are such fees, allowances and benefits authorised; and (b) how is the values of these fees, allowances and other benefits determined.

(4) In each case, what is the nature and value of fees paid to the board members.

(5) What other benefits, such as mobile phones, home computers and home phone/facsimile machines, are provided to board members by virtue of their membership of a government board.

(6) What class of air travel, what standard of accommodation and what car allowances are paid to board members and, in each case, what is the value of these benefits and who determines that value.

(7) Are the board members entitled to, or do they receive any spouse benefits; if so, what is the nature and value of these benefits.

(8) (a) On how many occasions since January 1998 have the above fees, allowances and other benefits been varied, (b) what was the reason for each variation; and (c) what was the quantum of each variation.

(9) If variations to fees, allowances and other payments to board members were not determined by the Remuneration Tribunal, who determined the quantum and timing of each increase.

(10) Do board members qualify for, and are they paid, superannuation benefits; if so, are such payments additional to, and separate from, other allowances they receive.

(11) Do board members receive any additional allowances if they are appointed to board sub-committees; if so, are such additional benefits provided for in the relevant legislation.

Senator Newman (Minster for Family and Community Services and Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for the Status of Women) —The Minister for Veterans' Affairs has provided the following answer to the honourable senator's question:

(1) The Australian War Memorial is governed by the Council of the Australian War Memorial and is the only agency within the Veterans' Affairs portfolio administered by a board.

(2) Yes.

(3) Yes.

(4) The Chairman and members of the Council of the Australian War Memorial are paid an annual fee determined by the Remuneration Tribunal. The Chairman of Council currently receives $18,000 and the other members of Council (excluding the three ex-officio members, Chief of Army, Chief of Navy and Chief of Air Staff) receive $8,900 per annum. These rates have been paid since 1 March 1999 in accordance with Remuneration Tribunal Determination 1999/03.

(5) Currently none. A previous Chairman was provided with a fax machine for the term of his appointment.

(6) Council members travel business class. Travel allowances are as determined by the Remuneration Tribunal. From 1 March 1999 travel allowances have been $210 per overnight stay in Canberra, and $60 where the trip exceeds a multiple of 24 hours by at least 10 hours. No car allowances are paid other than reimbursement for use of private vehicle to travel to and from Council meetings, if these are less than the equivalent airfare. Reimbursement for private cars is based on the standard Public Service rates. Cab charges are provided for use in airport transfers for Council meetings. Hire cars are provided for official Council business on occasion.

(7) The spouse of each Council member is entitled to a return airfare to Canberra once for each twelve months of the member's term of appointment.

(8) (a) During the period January 1998 to present, Council fees were increased by the Remuneration Tribunal once, in March 1999.

(b) Remuneration Tribunal Review.

(c) Council Chairman's fees were increased from $16,600 to $18,000 per annum, and members' fees were increased from 8,480 to $8,900 per annum.

(9) N/A.

(10) Members of Council are paid superannuation benefits of 7% in accordance with the Superannuation Guarantee (Administration) Act 1992. This benefit is in addition to the annual fee.

(11) No.