The Victorian Independent Remuneration Tribunal and Improving Parliamentary Standards Act 2019 (Vic) (VIRTIPS Act) requires the Tribunal to inquire into and make Determinations in relation to:
- salaries and allowances for Members of the Parliament of Victoria (MPs)
- remuneration bands for executives employed in public service bodies
- remuneration bands for executives employed in prescribed public entities
- allowances provided to Mayors, Deputy Mayors and Councillors in local government
In performing its functions and the exercise of its powers, the Tribunal must act independently and impartially and is not subject to the control or direction of any person, including the Minister (s5).
1.1 Scope of the Determination
This Determination made under section 18 of the VIRTIPS Act is part of the Tribunal’s role in determining salaries and allowances for MPs.
The VIRTIPS Act requires the Tribunal to make a new Determination of MP salaries and allowances within 6 months after the first sitting day of each subsequent Parliament, that is, every 4 years (s17). The Tribunal is required to set the value of the:
- basic salary for MPs
- additional salaries paid to those holding specified parliamentary offices
- work-related parliamentary allowances for MPs
- the Electorate Office and Communications Budget (EO&C Budget) provided to MPs to maintain an electorate office and communicate with their electorate in relation to the performance of their public duties
Section 18 of the VIRTIPS Act requires the Tribunal to provide for an annual adjustment to the values set in the current Determination under section 17.
1.2 Legislative requirements
Before making a Determination, the Tribunal must:
- publish notice of its intention to make a Determination (s24(1)(a))
- include details about the proposed Determination in the public notice (s24(1)(b))
- give any affected person or class of persons a reasonable opportunity to make a submission in relation to the proposed Determination (s24(1)(c))
In making a Determination, the Tribunal must consider:
- any statement or policy issued by the Government of Victoria which is in force with respect to its Wages Policy (or equivalent) and the remuneration and allowances of any specified occupational group (s24(2)(a))
- the financial position and fiscal strategy of the State of Victoria (s24(2)(b))
- current and projected economic conditions and trends (s24(2)(c))
- submissions received in relation to the proposed Determination (s24(2)(d))
In accordance with section 24(1) of the VIRTIPS Act, on 5 May 2020, and before making the Determination, the Tribunal:
- published its notice of intention to make a Determination on its website, including details about the proposed Determination
- gave any affected person or class of affected persons a reasonable opportunity to make a submission regarding the proposed Determination
As part of its notice of intention, the Tribunal published a summary of the matters it was required to consider in the making of the Determination on its website. The Tribunal also requested that the Department of Parliamentary Services provide the Tribunal’s notice of intention directly to MPs.
The Tribunal received one confidential written submission that proposed that any increase to MP salaries should not exceed the Victorian Government's Wages Policy.
1.4 Members of Parliament (Victoria) Determination 01/2019
On 16 September 2019, the Tribunal issued the Members of Parliament (Victoria) Determination 01/2019 (2019 Determination). The 2019 Determination represented the first independent comprehensive review of MPs’ remuneration in Victoria’s history.
The 2019 Determination reviewed the roles and responsibilities of MPs, and the existing salaries, work-related parliamentary allowances and other funding and superannuation arrangements provided to MPs (s17). It set the values of the:
- basic salary
- additional salaries for specified parliamentary office holders
- electorate allowance
- any expense allowance
- motor vehicle allowance
- travel allowance
- parliamentary accommodation sitting allowance
- commercial transport allowance
- international travel allowance
- EO&C Budget
The 2019 Determination also set the value of the ‘basic salary portion’ for the financial year ending 30 June 2020 - that is, the basic salary for the purpose of section 10(1) of the Parliamentary Salaries, Allowances and Superannuation Act 1968 (Vic) (PSAS Act) - as required by the VIRTIPS Act (s17(5)(b)). The Tribunal does not have the power to make any further adjustments to the basic salary portion, rather it will be adjusted by the formula set out in section 10(1) of the PSAS Act.
The 2019 Determination made key reforms to the salaries and allowances provided to MPs in Victoria:
- consolidation of the base expense allowance of 8 per cent into the basic salary, and reducing any expense allowance provided to a specified parliamentary office holder by the same amount
- breaking the percentage link between the basic salary and additional salaries provided to specified parliamentary office holders
- removing the ability for MPs to claim international and interstate travel from the EO&C Budget, and replacing this provision with a new ‘international travel allowance’ capped at $10,000 per financial year
1.5 Review of Members of Parliament Guidelines
In June 2020, the Tribunal commenced a comprehensive review of its Members of Parliament (Victoria) Guidelines 02/2019, which govern the eligibility and use of some work-related parliamentary allowances and the EO&C Budget. The review is intended to be holistic to ensure the Guidelines are modernised and designed to support the broader compliance framework within which they operate.
Reviewed 29 June 2020