SA likely to review MP travel ‘perks’

MPs’ travel allowances in South Australia are set for review with Premier Jay Weatherill and Opposition Leader Isobel Redmond agreeing to look at the parliamentary “perk”.

Ms Redmond said in tough economic times the travel allowances were harder to justify and the public would consider them a perk of the job.

She said she would take the idea of a review to a Liberal Party meeting and would back it herself.

“I think it certainly would be viewed as a perk,” she told reporters on Tuesday.

“If you look at the overall salary package of MPs, I don’t think we are really overpaid for the work that most of us put in.

“But overall I think the community would look at this as a perk, so I think there is room to review it.

“I’ll certainly give a commitment to take it to my party room and, provided the party room agrees, take it the premier.”

Ms Redmond’s comments came amid controversy over a decision by Education Minister Grace Portolesi to take her seven-year-old daughter on an official trip to India earlier this year at taxpayers’ expense.

Mr Weatherill has backed his minister, saying she had received the appropriate approval for the travel.

But the premier was happy for a review on the wider issue of travel allowances.

“If the opposition leader is suggesting that she wants to have a bipartisan review of the travel allowance arrangements, I’m more than happy to support it,” he said.

Under the current arrangements MPs get a $12,000 annual allowance for travel and can use up to half of that to pay for the travel of an accompanying spouse.

If they have no spouse they can ask to take another family member.

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